Griffins' rally comes up short in 4-3 loss to Bisons

Ella Maternick battles for possession along the boards on Saturday (Dave Mahussier photo).
Ella Maternick battles for possession along the boards on Saturday (Dave Mahussier photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

WINNIPEG, Man. – For the second-straight day, the second period tilted the game in the wrong direction for the Griffins women's hockey team.

On Saturday, just like in Friday's 6-3 loss to the Manitoba Bisons, MacEwan held a 2-1 advantage after 20 minutes, only to get outscored in the middle frame. They couldn't recover in a 4-3 defeat.

"It was better overall, we just gave up three goals in the second period," said head coach Chris Leeming. "They caught us with the long change and got a couple breakaways. They scored in the first minute of the first and second period and that was pretty much the story. We weren't able to claw our way back into the game."

They almost did, though, as Maria Ayre scored with 2:45 remaining to pull MacEwan within one before Manitoba salted away the win with some strong forechecking and board play.

With the result, the Bisons move to 2-4-0, while MacEwan falls to 1-7-0 in the Canada West standings.

"I just think in terms of consistency, we've got some room for improvement over 60 minutes, shutting down teams defensively and generating more shots," said Leeming. "We didn't even get 20 shots again today."

Manitoba outshot MacEwan 35-18 in the contest as Brianna Sank made 31 saves for the Griffins and Meagan Relf stopped 15 for the Bisons.

Joie Simon led MacEwan with two assists, completing a three-point weekend.

"She's been consistent for us all year so far and it's nice to see her get on the scoresheet," said Leeming. "She quarterbacks our one powerplay and generates shots. I think one was a tip-in from Kori (Paterson). She got an assist yesterday on Jesse (Jack)'s goal as well. She's consistent, she competes hard, is on penalty kills and the powerplay for us. She's a pretty important player for us."

Indeed, Paterson scored MacEwan's first of the game Saturday when she deflected Simon's powerplay point shot past Relf.

MacEwan gained the lead just before the first period expired when Letta Mattheos whacked the puck off the back netting and Jack wrapped it around.

Kate Gregoire, Sarah Dennehy and Ashley Keller scored during a Bisons' second period explosion, though, and Manitoba took control of the contest.

Denney's tally came on the powerplay – the first time anyone has scored on MacEwan's penalty kill this season.

"We finally lost our 100 per cent," said Leeming. "They scored on us today. We ran into some penalty trouble and spent a good chunk of the game killing. I think both teams had five powerplays, so that's a whole period playing special teams. 

"We were playing short – we didn't have Jenny (Andrash) or Claire Hobbs this weekend either. Those are two players who usually play in those situations for us. We had some different people in different roles this weekend. It presented some challenges within our piece, but at the end of the day, the competitive piece and managing the momentum of the game is the bigger picture for us."

Next up for the Griffins is Oct. 27-28 at UBC.