Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
RED DEER – A season-long scoring problem came back to bite the MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team at the worst possible time on Saturday night.
Despite outshooting the Red Deer College Queens nearly two-to-one (35-18) in Game 2 of their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference semifinal series, MacEwan could only put one past Karlee Fetch and fell 2-1 in overtime.
It's a result that knots the best-of-three set at a game apiece and forces a do-or-die Game 3 on Sunday (1 p.m., Downtown Community Arena).
"We need a win to continue the season," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "That's the biggest point, for sure.
"I'm looking for more of what we brought in the second half of the second period and the whole third period. I think they got three shots against us in the third period, with penalties against us, as well. We played exceptionally well.
"I think we just need to start the game earlier. We just didn't start the way that we needed to."
The winner will meet the NAIT Ooks in the best-of-five final after the ACAC's top seed swept Olds College in the other semifinal.
MacEwan beat RDC five of six times during the regular season and topped them 4-2 in Game 1 of the series on Thursday night.
But just as in their lone loss to RDC in the regular season – a 2-1 defeat on Feb. 9 when they outshot the Queens 44-25 – the Griffins had trouble beating Fetch.
They couldn't get one past her until the third period on Saturday and by that time, they were already down 1-0 on Mairead Bast's second period powerplay tally.
The Queens, however, kept the series going by scoring a powerplay tally 2:26 into overtime when Sydnee Decorby hit the twine from the top of the left circle.
"I'm never blaming refereeing," explained McAlpine. "It was just the refereeing was really inconsistent. He gave us a penalty three minutes into overtime and they scored the winning goal on a very questionable body contact call.
"The game became hard to read on what was going to be called a penalty and what wasn't."
So, the series will go the distance. McAlpine is looking for a response from a Griffins team that now has its backs against the wall, their quest for a third-straight championship hinging on Sunday.
"We didn't play like it was a critical game and they did," she said. "We turned that momentum halfway through the second and played significantly better. It just took us too long.
"We're going to start at the outset tomorrow. That's what I'm expecting from our girls."