Rusty after a bye week, Griffins' execution breaks down in 4-1 loss to Pandas

Brianna Sank makes one of her 23 saves against Alberta on Friday night (Connor Hood photo).
Brianna Sank makes one of her 23 saves against Alberta on Friday night (Connor Hood photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Falling short in the execution department, the MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team lost the first half of their final weekend series of the first semester, falling 4-1 to the cross-town rival Alberta Pandas on Friday night.

Alberta scored early goals in both the first and second period (1:30 and 2:56 in, respectively) and salted it away with two more to answer MacEwan's lone tally of the contest.

"I feel like a broken record talking about it, but they scored a couple of goals in the first two minutes of the first two periods and that's deflating," said Griffins' interim head coach Chris Leeming. "We had a good conversation in between periods, but they got a goal because we weren't prepared.

"At the end of the day, it just came down to execution for us. We had a couple scoring chances we couldn't convert on. And getting out of our D zone is a bit difficult when we can't make passes right now. It's just execution. We were a little rusty after the bye week in my opinion as well."

With the result, the Pandas improve to 11-5-1, while the Griffins are now 3-11-1 and fall further out of playoff contention.

Kallie Clouston scored twice for Alberta, while Jaydynn Morden and Allison Reich also beat MacEwan netminder Brianna Sank, who made 23 saves.

Sydney Hughson scored MacEwan's lone goal of the contest at 8:22 of the second period.

"One of the things we were working on in the o-zone is just letting it go off of a pass instead of taking two extra stickhandles," said Leeming. "She saw she had an opportunity and she just delivered on a low to high pass. It got through some traffic and surprised the goalie. It went five-hole on her and she didn't see it. 

"We executed on one thing we've been working on, but overall for 60 minutes, we didn't have the execution today."

Halle Oswald stopped 16 of 17 shots for Alberta.

The teams will meet again on Saturday (5 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).

"It's the last game of the first half, so we just talked about laying it all out there," said Leeming. "Whenever we play U of A, our team gets up for it. 

"Obviously they're a strong team – they're one of the top three teams in the league – so we just want to be proud of the effort we put out there for the last 60 minutes of 2022."