Griffins motivated to finish season strong as they visit Regina this weekend

Allee Isley scored the shootout winner for the Griffins the last time they met Regina - a 3-2 win on Nov. 25 (Derek Harback photo).
Allee Isley scored the shootout winner for the Griffins the last time they met Regina - a 3-2 win on Nov. 25 (Derek Harback photo).

Jason Hills 
For MacEwan Athletics 
REGINA – The MacEwan Griffins know their playoff chances are slim at this point in the season, but they certainly aren't about to pack it in – they have lots to play for. 

Amid a 0-8-1 skid, the Griffins are confident they can finish the season on a high note and try to move up the Canada West standings with four regular season games remaining. 

That mindset starts this weekend against the Regina Cougars, a team the Griffins have had success against this season. 

"We know we can beat them, and we know we need to beat them again this weekend if we want to catch them in the standings," said Griffins forward Allee Isley, who scored the shootout winner against Regina in a 3-2 win on Nov. 25. 

Despite the Griffins' struggles, they've been battling hard since the Christmas break. They lost two close contests against the Saskatchewan Huskies last weekend (2-1 and 2-0), and earlier this month against Calgary, they lost 4-3 in overtime. 

"We're a young team, and it's coming. We know we can keep up with teams, we just have to find ways to create more scoring chances, and capitalize on the chances we do get," said Isley, who has two goals and four assists in 24 games this season. 

"We've worked on a couple different (zone) entries to try and create some more scoring opportunities. We've done a lot of work with our defence to try and get more shots through, and we're focusing on getting bodies to the net. 

"We need to outwork them at both ends of the ice. Nothing too fancy, just go to the net hard and win battles and look for those greasy goals." 

Regina is 5-15-1-1 and sits five points ahead of the Griffins who are 3-20-1. If MacEwan can win both games this weekend and find a way to earn some points in their two final regular season games against Manitoba the following weekend, they have a shot to catch the Cougars. 

"Our start in the first game is important. We need to get that first goal and keep pushing through and taking it to them," said Isley. 

"If we can focus on the little things and the details, that will really help us get earn some wins." 

The Griffins are one of the youngest teams in the conference this season with only one fifth-year player on their roster. The bulk of the team are in their first, second and third years. MacEwan have earned some rewarding wins this year, and also been on the wrong side of some tough losses, but they're building a solid foundation for the future. 

"By no means are we giving up on ourselves. Despite the season we've had we're still pushing towards our goals," said Isley. 

"We've learned a lot this year. We've shown we can compete with some of these teams, we just need to keep pushing forward, keep working and we know the success will come, eventually."