Griffins blanked by Pandas for second-straight night

Ella Maternick gets a chance in tight on Alberta goaltender Grace Glover (Joel Kingston photo).
Ella Maternick gets a chance in tight on Alberta goaltender Grace Glover (Joel Kingston photo).

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — For the second-straight night, the MacEwan Griffins were fighting an uphill battle against the cross-town rival Alberta Pandas.

Jadynn Morden led Alberta with two goals, while Natalie Kieser and Maia Ehmann recorded two points each (1g, 1a) to help pace the Pandas to a 6-0 win over MacEwan on Saturday night at the Downtown Community Arena.

Goaltender Grace Glover made 11 saves for her first-career win and shutout in her first-career game.

Izzy Lajoie and Bree Kennedy also scored for Alberta, while Breanna Sank made 19 saves in the loss for the Griffins, who fell to 1-5-0 this season.

"They're a good team who capitalizes on their opportunities and on the mistakes that we make. That's the big picture from this game. That's what good teams do," said Griffins head coach Chris Leeming.

"We had opportunities and didn't finish. They make teams pay when they get their chances and they made us pay for the mistakes that we made.

"I don't think it was truly a 6-0 game at the end of the day, but that's what it ended up being. We need to get back to basics and simplifying things and we're in a space right now where we're working through some things."

MacEwan looked to rebound after getting shutout 4-0 to Alberta on Friday night, and they got off to a solid start outshooting the Pandas early on, but a giveaway at their blueline while on the power play, led to Kieser breaking down the left side and her hard snapshot from the top of the faceoff dot gave the Pandas the 1-0 lead.

Then just 4:32 later Morden jumped all over a turnover deep in the Griffins zone and made no mistake, beating Sank with a backhand shot to give Alberta a 2-0 lead.

"U of A is a tough test for us," said Griffins defender Sydney Olsen.

"We wanted to put in a better 60 minutes than we did (Friday), and I thought we were more consistent today, but this is a loss that we can learn a lot from today."

Joie Simon gets a shot on Saturday (Joel Kingston photo).

Kennedy scored her first goal at 9:10 of the second period after she crashed the net and jumped on the loose puck to beat a down and out Sank, who was dealing with all kinds of traffic in front.

Then just 52 seconds later, Morden made it 4-0.

Ehmann scored her second goal of the season when she tipped a point shot Riley Smith to make it 5-0 late in the second period.

Alberta made it 6-0 with Lajoie's first goal of the season at the 8:15 mark.

"We were more even on the shot clock today, but they capitalized on their chances and we didn't. We have to work on that moving forward. We have to be a team that capitalizes on our chances more," said Olsen.

It was a tough weekend overall for the Griffins who were outscored 10-0 by Alberta, but one big positive was their continued success on the penalty kill.

They entered the weekend a perfect 16-for-16 and ranked No.1 in the conference on the penalty kill, and they shut down the Pandas top-ranked power play on both nights, killing off all seven penalties.

"We've always been a team that is good on the PK, but we can really build off our effort this weekend," said Olsen.

"We wanted to keep battling until the end. I know they were able to break it open on us, but we didn't want to show any quit.

The Griffins will now travel to Winnipeg next weekend to face the Manitoba Bisons, and their biggest focus will be to put forward a full 60-minute effort.

"We've got to learn to level up here with our game more for 60 minutes," said Leeming.

"We can't change what's happened. We have to move forward. This weekend wasn't a fun weekend to be a part of, but we have to have a growth mindset and take what we can away from these two losses."