Schuttler breaks record with three points as Griffins snap losing streak with 4-1 win over Spartans

Makenna Schuttler wheels around the defence right before sniping the game-winning goal on Friday night (Jefferson Hagen photo).
Makenna Schuttler wheels around the defence right before sniping the game-winning goal on Friday night (Jefferson Hagen photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Spirits were high as the MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team skated off the ice after stamping out a nine-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday night at the Downtown Community Arena.

Makenna Schuttler emerged from a jubilant dressing room with a little player of the game bling around her neck – the vaunted MacEwan hockey logo on a gold chain – and summed up how much this one meant.

"We were really building and pushing for a win," said Schuttler, who became the first Griffins player to net three points in a Canada West game. "This means a lot for our program, so I'm really happy to be a part of it."
It's MacEwan's first win since Sept. 29 when they beat the Dinos in Calgary and is the first time in 2023-24 they've celebrated a victory on home ice.

"It was definitely a long road to get here, but we never got discouraged," said Schuttler. "We know it's a long season. We just wanted to build and compete and come to work every day to get better. We stuck to that. 

"This is a big moment for us, and I'm proud of everyone."

Nine times has a Griffins women's hockey player recorded two points in a CW game, but Friday was the first time someone has had three. Schuttler scored the game-winner and added two assists.

"She was put in a leadership role early and she's grasped that as the season's gone on," said assistant coach Cody Leeming. "She shows up and is willing to work hard. She's one of our better skaters, so once she gets going, she's tough to stop. She just took over the game and said 'this is our game tonight.' She led the charge on and off the ice. 

"It was a good performance from her. It was good to see one of our leaders just taking control and saying this is how we're going to do things today."

Schuttler sent a streaking Ella Maternick in alone at 13:26 of the second period and the rookie made no mistake for not only the game's opening goal, but the first tally of her career.

Schuttler scored the game-winner 2:21 into the third when, on a powerplay, she wheeled around the defence and ripped a shot over the far pad and under the glove of Spartans goaltender Kate Fawcett.

"Just took a shot," she said. "We knew we wanted to skate around and maybe get them out of position. Just came around the top there and got some speed going. It kind of opened up there and I just shot. It was actually going far pad and it went in, so it was a nice surprise."

Joie Simon hit an empty net to put the game out of reach late in the third (Jefferson Hagen photo).

After the Spartans made it close on Olivia Leier's tally at 9:18, Joie Simon hit an empty net from her own zone with 1:38 left. 

With Fawcett back in the net, the Griffins scored again just 10 seconds later as Jennifer Andrash put in the rebound off Schuttler's shot.

It's the most goals the Griffins have scored in a game this season.

"I think sometimes we're hesitant to make plays, so we just wanted to get pucks to the net, keep it simple and crash the net," said Schuttler. "A big goal for us today was to win our net-front battles D zone and offensive zone, so I thought we did a great job with that."

On the other end, their penalty kill stopped the Spartans five times in the game, including on a 5-on-3 in the first period. There were big blocked shots – including one by Jesse Jack off her chest – and huge stops from Brianna Sank, who finished with 32 saves.

"We kind of debriefed things before the game, just talking about protecting the house, taking away lanes," said Leeming. "I think everyone we put in that position just bought in and was willing to do the little things. It was just that four or five-player unit just buying in together and willing to do what we needed to do on the kill.

"Your goalie needs to be one of your better penalty killers," he added. "Brianna made the saves we needed her to make. It was a good performance by her."

The teams will meet again on Saturday (2 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).