MacEwan Athletics and SAIT Athletics
CALGARY – For a second-straight game, the MacEwan Griffins put more than 45 shots on the opposition's netminder and somehow skated off the ice without a win.
On Friday, they peppered SAIT Trojans goaltender Payton Lee with 46 shots, but were only able to beat him once in a 2-1 overtime defeat.
That loss comes on the heels of a 4-3 setback to Portage College in Lac La Biche last Saturday when they could only beat Taryn Kotchorek 44/47 times.
"Right now, we're easy to play against in lots of areas," lamented MacEwan head coach Michael Ringrose. "We're easy to play against for opposing netminders. We don't get to the front of the net, we don't get traffic. We swing through and don't stop.
"Our compete and battle inside the paint is poor. When you're getting 46 or 47 shots on goal, but you're not getting any second opportunities, it's a cause for concern, for sure."
MacEwan's goal-scoring woes have only been a recent problem. Considering they scored 27 times in their first three games, it's clear the two-time defending ACAC champs hold the blueprint of how to do it. Why they're not doing it is the greater concern.
"Despite the shots we put on net tonight, we can do more to generate more offence," he said. "We can do more to get to the front of the net – try to simplify our game offensively.
"Those will help us, but, to me, the biggest concern was: one, we need to be more competitive early in games. We've got to be ready to go. And, two, we're a little easy to play against, especially at the blueline. The offensive and defensive bluelines need to do a better job.
"For us, we didn't like what we gave up tonight. We gave up way too much – not necessarily shots on goal, but quality opportunities."
SAIT was outshot, but they still put 33 on Marc-Olivier Daigle, including Zach McNeill's breakaway winner at 3:51 of the first overtime.
"It was four on four. We were rolling up the wall and our forward was getting pinched off through the middle," explained Ringrose of the goal. "They were able to pop the puck and it was a breakaway coming back."
ACAC leading scorer Owen LaClare opened the scoring for SAIT with his third goal and 13th point of the season in the opening period.
Thirty-seven minutes of hockey passed until the Griffins finally solved Lee. Cam Gotaas finished off a beautiful passing play by teammates Brett Njaa and Garan Magnes to bring the teams even with just seven minutes remaining in the game.
"I didn't think we were competitive enough early on," said Ringrose. "I thought we wanted to play an easy game again.
"It's disappointing to come out the way that we did. That being said, we found a way to put a lot of pucks towards the net again. We're just having trouble finishing around the net."
Lee, formerly of the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice, made 45 saves.
"I thought this was a character-building win for us," he told SAIT Athletics "They had a lot of shots, but I thought the guys did a good job of keeping them to the outside and letting me see them."
With the win, SAIT keeps pace with Red Deer College at the top of the ACAC standings (5-0-0-0). The Griffins (3-1-1-0) will try to be the first to hand them a loss in 2018-19 when they meet in the rematch (Saturday, 6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena).