EDMONTON – Sometimes the floodgates just open in the wrong direction.
For the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team that happened on Saturday night as they found themselves on the wrong end of a 7-1 blowout at the hands of the NAIT Ooks.
The crazy thing is, while the contest was still in doubt early in the second period, MacEwan looked like the better team. They just couldn't score.
When NAIT's Tanner Dunkle sent an alley-oop pass through the neutral zone that cleared the MacEwan defence and landed on the tape of Matt McNeil to send him in on a breakaway for a 4-1 Ooks lead at 8:12 of the middle frame, that about summed up the night for the boys in maroon.
The Ooks buried their chances and the Griffins couldn't as the teams skated to a weekend split after MacEwan won 4-1 on Friday at the Downtown Community Arena.
Tyler Robertson had two goals and an assist to pace the Ooks, who stretch their lead atop the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference standings with 34 points (16-2-1-1). The Griffins (13-7-0-0) are third in the standings with 26 points after their four-game winning streak was snapped.
Brayden Harris opened the scoring for NAIT just 47 seconds into the contest when he finished off a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play from Robertson and Brandon Ralph on a play MacEwan goalie Marc-Olivier Daigle had no chance on.
At 14:19, Robertson gave the Ooks a 2-0 lead when he potted a rebound on a powerplay.
MacEwan would pull within one before the first period was finished as Sean MacTavish made the water bottle dance behind NAIT goalie Patrick Gora after taking a great back-door behind-the-net feed from Brett Njaa.
But a bad giveaway in the neutral zone on a powerplay rush sent Robertson in on a breakaway just 20 seconds into the second period for NAIT's ACAC-leading seventh short-handed goal of the season.
After McNeil's goal at 8:12, Daigle was lifted in favour of Christopher Wray – an effort to shake up the bad voodoo working against the Griffins.
It didn't really work as NAIT began to pour on the pressure and the floodgates just opened wider. The Ooks would head to the room after 40 minutes with a 6-1 lead after Jordan Davies converted an a gorgeous cross-ice powerplay feed from Thomas Foster at 13:03 and Devon McAndrews beat Wray blocker side with a quick shot from the slot at 16:31.
Tanner Younghans finished off the scoring parade late in the third period on a two-on-one down low with Cameron Brezinski.
Next up for the Griffins is a home-and-home series against Red Deer College (14-5-1), the team they're chasing for second place. Friday's game will be at the Downtown Community Arena (7 p.m.) with the rematch in Red Deer on Saturday (7 p.m.).