Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Sooner or later, the problem was going to burn them.
The MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team had managed to overcome an inability to finish their chances early in the season in skating out to a 4-0-0-0 record.
But on Friday night at the Downtown Community Arena, they couldn't score at all on any of their 35 shots fired at NAIT goalie Kaitlyn Slator.
The result was a 1-0 loss to a team that only had 21 on them.
"We are really struggling," said head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "Again, now, it's one of those things like a player. When you're really struggling, it's in your head. I think we're now really fighting that mindset.
"We've talked about it excessively and I think we need to shift and focus on something else."
Maybe just not talking about it will finally solve the issue, so enough said.
NAIT veteran Verca Kuzelova scored the winner for the Ooks with 6:32 left in the third period.
"We gave her too much of a zone and she walked in left-hand side and beat Sandy (Heim) top corner," said McAlpine. "It was a really nice shot with about six minutes to go in the third."
So, the Griffins are undefeated no more.
"It's not a bad thing," admitted McAlpine. "It's so early in our season. We know our league is very tight especially in that top grouping.
"I expect nothing less of NAIT. We're now hoping for a split and I think that's a very typical weekend against them. It's a lesson we need to learn now that we're definitely not going to roll through our league."
MacEwan and NAIT are now tied atop the ACAC standings at 4-1-0-0. The teams will meet again on Saturday night (6 p.m., NAIT Arena).