Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
CAMROSE – Garan Magnes recorded the second hat trick of his stellar rookie Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season – all on the powerplay – to propel the MacEwan Griffins to a 6-2 win over the UAlberta-Augustana Vikings on Saturday night.
Fifth-year veteran Dallas Smith also had a three-point night with two goals and an assist as the Griffins completed a weekend sweep of the Vikings to bolster their second-place perch in the standings at 17-5-1-0. That's five points back of the NAIT Ooks (20-6-0-0), but the Griffins have three games in hand.
After the result, the Vikings are fifth at 14-9-1-0.
"I think tonight the biggest thing we did right is we competed hard all night," said MacEwan assistant coach Zack Dailey. "We turned over some pucks, but we worked hard to get them back and we worked hard in our D zone.
"Daigs was great again for us and our powerplay scored some timely goals for us as well."
Marc-Olivier Daigle made 29 saves for the Griffins and continues to lead the ACAC in both goals against average (1.77) and save percentage (.938).
Kaelan Holt opened the scoring for the Griffins just over three minutes into the contest.
Then, mirroring Friday's 3-1 win over the Vikings at the Downtown Community Arena, the Griffins scored three times in a dominant second period to really take control of the affair. Smith struck just 16 seconds in to set the tone before Magnes scored a pair of powerplay goals just over seven minutes apart.
After Ryan Groom and Adam Osczevski scored on third period powerplays for the Vikings, Magnes struck again on the man advantage with 5:42 left before Smith scored 1:26 later for a 6-2 result.
MacEwan finished 3-for-6 with the man advantage.
"We had a shot-first mentality and we got guys to the net," said Dailey. "We did a great job screening the goalie and found some holes. It was good."
Curtis Skip made 20 saves for the Vikings in the first 40 minutes before giving way to Zach deGraves, who stopped seven of nine in the final 20.
MacEwan now has four-straight wins since returning to action following the postponement of three games in the aftermath of Griffins forward Nakehko Lamothe's tragic death on Jan. 25.
It understandably took them some time to get back up to speed during a difficult time, but the victories over the Vikings show progress.
"I wouldn't say we're completely back, but we definitely took a step in the right direction," said Dailey. "The biggest thing for me is our compete level's back where it was before. We're working hard, we're finishing our checks, we're competing every shift.
"We're still turning too many pucks over and that's something that will come in time. But we definitely took a big step in the right direction."
The Griffins will be making up two of those previously postponed contests next week when they host the SAIT Trojans on Wednesday, Feb. 20 (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena) and travel to Sylvan Lake on Friday, Feb. 22 (1:30 p.m.) to meet Red Deer College.