Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
CARONPORT, Sask. – Coaches are always looking for how their players respond after a heartbreaking loss.
But what about how they respond after a 9-1 blowout win?
Playing the annual road doubleheader at Briercrest College hasn't always been so easy for the MacEwan Griffins, who have had their fair share of letdown moments against the Clippers in recent seasons.
So, when they beat them by an even larger margin a day later – posting an 11-1 victory on Saturday afternoon – it's fair to say they didn't take anything for granted.
"One thing we talked about is having a mature approach all the time," said Griffins head coach Michael Ringrose. "Great teams are mature teams.
"It's important to learn how to play when you have success. And it's something that's not necessarily easy to do. I thought our guys were ready to play the right way this weekend and the results speak for themselves."
Outscoring your first opponent of the season 20-2 is indeed a pretty good way to start 2018-19 for the Griffins.
Briercrest came out with more jam to begin the rematch, though, and Joseph Roach opened the scoring for the Clippers 7:51 in. But it didn't take long for the Griffins' tidal wave to roll over them.
"I think they certainly had a lot more jump off the get-go today," said Ringrose of the Clippers. "It took us two or three minutes to adjust to what was a higher pace. Once we did, we were able to turn things in our favour. We did a really good job getting pucks to the net and were able to score some goals again."
A day after veteran captain Cam Gotaas scored a hat-trick on Friday, it was rookie Magnes' turn on Saturday. He made it 5-1 in the second period and then added his hat-trick tally on MacEwan's 11th of the game with 1:39 left.
"He can absolutely rip the biscuit," said Ringrose of the former Edmonton Oil Kings player who finished his junior career with the Battlefords North Stars in the SJHL last season.
"It's such a good weapon for him that if you give him an opportunity with time and space to shoot, he's going to make you pay for it."
Rookie goaltender Eric Szudor got the start and made 21 saves for his first career ACAC victory.
"He was very good," said Ringrose. "The first one he probably wants to have back, but he made a couple of saves later on in the game that definitely made up for it on plays that he probably shouldn't have had due to breakdowns by the rest of us.
"It was nice to see him settle in and stop the puck, and give us a chance to get our wheels going."
Assistant captain Baskerville led the Griffins in points with a goal and three assists, while captain Gotaas had another three-point game (a goal and two helpers). Veteran D-man Brett Magee, who transferred over from NAIT in the off-season, had three assists.
"Obviously, it was a very strong weekend for our veteran guys," said Ringrose. "They were very strong up front for us. With being key leaders for us, it was nice to see them make sure we were ready and lead the charge for us."
The Griffins now return to Edmonton for their home opener on Oct. 12 vs. Portage College (7 p.m., Downtown Community Arena).