Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Concordia Thunder goalie Tanner McCorriston and his posts were like a lightning rod for the puck on Friday night as the MacEwan Griffins zapped shot after shot towards the cage only to find leather and iron instead of mesh.
Brett Njaa beat him on the Griffins' 11th shot of the game in the first period, but they needed 44 more before finally solving McCorriston again – a Sean MacTavish rebound tally at 3:43 of the second overtime that delivered a 2-1 win for MacEwan over their cross-town rivals.
"It was kind of a developing play," said MacTavish on the winner, his fifth goal of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season. "Mo (Tyler Morrison) was coming down the wall and cut back. Njaazy ended up getting it to the net and it was just laying in front there. It's an easy tap-in for me.
"It was a treat, that's for sure."
And a great relief for the Griffins, who outshot the Thunder 55-20 in a game they were heavily favoured in.
"We ran into a hot goalie tonight," said Griffins interim head coach Michael Ringrose. "For us, we needed to stay with the process and believe what we were doing was working.
"That's a hard thing to do when you're putting 55 shots on the board and you're not getting results. We did it and we were able to get an important second point in overtime."
Not only was McCorriston on fire, MacEwan hit the iron six times during the contest – if you count the two posts that Ryan Benn dinged on a second-period breakaway shot that also went off the goalie's back but stayed out.
"I don't know how that didn't go in," said Njaa, who made the stretch-pass to spring Benn on the play as he was stepping out of the penalty box. "I was already celebrating."
That was one of four breakaways the Griffins had during the contest.
Njaa's opening goal came on a short-handed break when he juked left and tucked the puck between McCorriston's legs at 5:01 of the first period. There was no way anyone believed that would be the only goal the Griffins would score in 51 regulation shots.
"At the time I definitely didn't think so, but he stood on his head," said Njaa. "He played very well. We had a couple opportunities we'd like to have back – maybe we were shaking off the rust a bit after the bye (week). But we got the two points, that's the main thing."
The Thunder took more than 10 minutes to register their first shot of the contest. But they picked up steam late in the frame and nearly scored when the puck caromed off Christopher Wray's chest and dropped at his feet before he flashed a pad and got a toe on the rebound.
Concordia tied the contest in the middle frame when Phil Dillon snapped a shot past Wray from the right circle through traffic on the power play.
After that, there was no scoring for a long time. Tyler Mrkonjic also hit a post late in the second period after a beautiful angle cut around defender to get in alone. He pinged a crossbar on the same powerplay shift just under a minute later.
The Griffins kept firing in the third period with their best early chance coming off a point-blank Brett Smythe rebound at the side of the net, but McCorriston stretched across to rob him blind. Cam Gotaas had him beat with just under 12 minutes left, but he, too, hit the iron.
Then, Njaa appeared to score the winning goal with 7:30 left when he buried a one-timer from Mrkonjic, but it was waved off after MacTavish was deemed to have interfered with McCorriston in the crease.
Ultimately, though, Njaa and the Griffins wouldn't be denied. Their third-year leading scorer went hard to the net in double OT and was stopped by McCorriston's left pad but flipped it back over him into the crease where a charging MacTavish ended it.
"He was fired up," Ringrose said of Njaa. "He was a guy that was passionate about getting the extra point and it was easy for me to just keep putting him out on the ice because you could tell he had it going tonight."
Wray made 19 saves for the Griffins in delivering a win that pushes their record to 15-7-1. Concordia picked up a point and now sits at 6-14-3-0 as they try to lock down the final playoff spot (now five points ahead of Briercrest).
The teams will meet again on Saturday (8:15 p.m., Clareview Arena).