Griffins grind out shootout win over Olds, overcoming tight checking, hot goaltending

The Griffins struggled to score in Olds on Thursday night, but got the job done in a shootout, winning 2-1 to remain undefeated on the young 2018-19 ACAC campaign (Matthew Jacula photo).
The Griffins struggled to score in Olds on Thursday night, but got the job done in a shootout, winning 2-1 to remain undefeated on the young 2018-19 ACAC campaign (Matthew Jacula photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

OLDS – There is no picture on the scorecard, so they say.

For the MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team that old golf aphorism rang true on Thursday night as they walked away with two points in a 2-1 ACAC shootout win over the home-standing Olds College Broncos.

The details of how they got those two points, though …

Let's just say they'd rather forget.

Oh, there was euphoria (or was it relief?) when Dominique Scheurer finally beat Olds goalie Victoria Eilers in the third round of the shootout. But this was not your standard Griffins win, despite a lopsided shot clock 41-17 in favour of the visitors.

MacEwan started slowly and were bottled up by the Broncos' tight-checking defensive machine.

"We did not come out the way we needed to," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "Olds is an arena that we seem to struggle in. For those first 20 minutes, they played with that high intensity and good physicality. They know the way to slow us down is using their bodies and I think they did that. I think we played right into it, unfortunately.

"We didn't work overly hard to fight through checks and it showed," she continued. "I think for two whole periods we played like that and it took us until the third to wake up and find our game and at that point it was a little bit too late."

Too late to frame the game as a work of art, but thankfully not too late to rally back and take two points.

Trailing 1-0 after Olds' Mairyn Tucker converted a nice shorthanded two-on-one in front of Sandy Heim 4:45 into the second period, the Griffins dominated the final frame, spending most of it in the Broncos' end.

Finally, Shyla Jans scored off a sneaky backhander from the side of the net that fooled Eilers, who hadn't yet dropped into the butterfly on the play.

However, despite pressing hard for the winning goal, the Griffins couldn't beat her again in the third period. And they couldn't beat her on 15 shots in two five-minute overtime periods.

"I think we had about 10 shots point blank in overtime and we could not bury one," said McAlpine. "Credit to their goalie. I think she played quite well. But we need to work harder in putting that puck in the net."

Eilers made 40 saves to secure a point for the Broncos. Heim stopped 16 of 17 for the Griffins.

Carley Jewell was robbed on a one-timer with just over a minute left in the first OT before Eilers got her right pad on Amanda Murray's one-timer in the second OT.

But it was a bit of a bad break for the Olds goaltender on Scheurer's shootout winner, which inadvertently turned into a broken play.

"She kind of went to drag it and missed her initial move," said McAlpine. "At the tail end, she was still able to make a shot out of it. The goalie tried to catch it with her stick and it rebounded back in.

"We'll definitely take it."

And that's just it. At the end of the day, the Griffins net two points and improve their ACAC-leading record to 3-0-0-0, while Olds is 0-0-1-0 after their first game of the season.

"We go into a weekend focusing on those two points and then those four points," said McAlpine. "Obviously, we're halfway there. We just need to move on from this game."

And conveniently lose the scorecard.

The teams will meet again in Edmonton on Saturday night (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena).