Griffins run into a hot goaltender, deserve a better fate than 4-2 loss to Huskies

Makenna Schuttler gets a chance in tight against Saskatchewan goaltender Colby Wilson. The Griffins outshot the Huskies 31-27, but lost 4-2 (Joel Kingston photo).
Makenna Schuttler gets a chance in tight against Saskatchewan goaltender Colby Wilson. The Griffins outshot the Huskies 31-27, but lost 4-2 (Joel Kingston photo).

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — The MacEwan Griffins had a game plan to get more shots on goal against the Saskatchewan Huskies and they certainly accomplished that with a season-high 31 shots, but unfortunately they ran into a red-hot goaltender.

Colby Wilson made 29 saves and the Huskies scored two goals 17 seconds apart to break the game open in a 4-2 win over the Griffins, Saturday afternoon at the Downtown Community Arena.

Sophie Lalor scored twice for the Huskies, while Isabella Pozzi and Jayde Cadieux also replied for Saskatchewan in the win.

Rookie defenceman Tess Collier scored her first-career Canada West conference goal and veteran forward Rian Santos scored her first goal of the season in the loss.

Brianna Sank made 23 saves in the loss as MacEwan fell to 1-3 on the season, while Saskatchewan improved to 4-0.

"We kept peppering her, especially on our power play, but we just couldn't bury as many as we'd like behind her," said Santos. "She played unreal today, and you have to give a big shout out to her, but we have to bear down and find ways to score. Not just shots but get more screens and tips and get creative with it."

The Huskies opened the scoring on their first shot of the game when Taylor Wilkinson jumped on a turnover in the slot and fed Lalor, who made no mistake beating Sank just 1:36 into the contest.

Despite being down early, the Griffins didn't back down, by any means. They outshot Saskatchewan 14-5 in the first period but weren't able to beat Wilson.

The Griffins continued to press for the tying goal in the second period, but it was the Huskies who were able to capitalize on an unfortunate bounce.

Pozzi's point shot ricocheted off the skate of a Griffins player in front and went top corner on Sank to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead at the 11:55 mark of the second period.

MacEwan cut the lead in half just 1:46 later as Collier's point shot found its way through traffic to make it 2-1, but another bad break gave the Huskies the insurance they needed when Cadieux jumped on a loose puck at the blue line and scored on a short-handed breakaway just 2:54 later.

Lalor's second of the game moments later, made it 4-1.

"They scored the three goals in about five minutes and two of them were really out of our control," said Griffins head coach Chris Leeming. "The second one hits our D's skate and ramps up the top corner on Sank and the one on the power play was the hinge play, and it slid off our middle player's stick and we gave up a breakaway.

"As a group, they decided that they weren't going to quit and keep battling despite the score, and I was really proud of that. It was nice to see the compete (level) was there for the majority of the 60 minutes."

Despite being down 4-1, the Griffins continued to battle and showed plenty of resilience.

Santos was able to cut the Huskies lead to 4-2, when she jumped off the bench and took a feed from Kori Paterson and ripped a one-timer low blocker on Wilson to round out the scoring.

"I'm proud of how we dealt with that adversity early on, and really kept battling and we didn't let it deflate our bench. Even those goals that were just off bad bounces, we didn't quit. We kept pushing and we fought hard and battled," said Santos.

"They could've really steamrolled us after giving up those two quick goals, but we weren't going to let that happen."

Creating shot volume has been a work in progress for the Griffins over the past couple seasons, so for them to outshoot the Huskies, who are one of the top teams in the Canada West conference, is certainly showing signs of progression.

Now, they just need to finish a few more of those scoring chances.

"We've always struggled with shot volume and to see us do that against a top team like Saskatchewan, we have to build off that," said Santos.

"We have to focus on burying more of those chances and we have to take that mindset into practice."

NEXT UP: The Griffins will now battle their cross-town rival, Alberta Pandas in a home-and-home series next weekend. They will host the Pandas in the second-half of the weekend series on Oct. 14.