You never like to be shorthanded in hockey, but the MacEwan Griffins women’s hockey team will be shorthanded for the remaining weeks of the regular season.
Todd Pruner / Intercamp
Griffins forward Janella Brodett pressures Alyssa Taylor for the puck behind the SAIT Trojans net.
The Griffins lost four players over the Christmas break, all forwards and three of them with more than one year of Alberta Colleges Athletics Association (ACAC) experience. No longer on the roster are rookie Michelle Tassone, second-year Carly Anderson, fourth-year Kendel Jurista and fourth-year Breanne Melnychuk.
The losses mean the Griffins now have the same amount of forwards on their roster as defencemen — seven.
However, first-year head coach Lindsay McAlpine is confident that the team won’t be hurt too much by the news.
“I think it’ll take a while, but I think the girls we have left are fully capable of doing it,” she said. “We’ve got girls with a lot of work ethic left, a lot of heart, so I don’t think it’ll make too much of a difference.”
The Griffins are now 3-7-0-4 on the season and in fourth place out of five teams in the ACAC, hanging on to the final playoff spot ahead of the Red Deer College Queens. MacEwan leads the Queens by six points
They got off to a disappointing start to the winter on Jan. 7 and 8 against the SAIT Trojans (6-5-2-1). The Griffins appeared slower than the Trojans and disorganized, perhaps still adjusting to the required increased ice time that each player will get. The Trojans walked all over the Griffins en route to a 9-2 victory at Londonderry Arena on Jan. 7.
“We just came unprepared, mentally,” said second-year forward Jayden Skoye. “It was just little things, like we would forget to take sticks, or we just couldn’t take that extra step to clear the puck. It was just little mental things that when you’re tired, you forget those things and they’re important parts of the game.”
The home side was in good shape for the first few minutes, but lost their way eight minutes in when Alyssa Taylor got the Trojans on the board with a four-on-four goal past Tannis Duffy. The Griffins were then hemmed in their own zone for most of the remaining time in the period. They also iced the puck three straight times at the midway point.
SAIT was ahead 4-0 before MacEwan scored their first goal, a power-play marker from Jayden Skoye right in front of the net. The Griffins’ only other goal also came on the power play with a point shot from defenceman Danielle Baxter that Skoye just missed getting a deflection on, but the puck still squeezed through Tehnille Gard and into the net.
The next day in Calgary, the Griffins came out with a much better effort, but came up just short in the end. Fourth-year Trojan Tia Hanson scored the game-winning goal on a scramble in front of goalie Sheena Anderson with just 6.7 seconds left in the third period.
“I’d say the biggest difference was we played to our strengths,” McAlpine said. “We utilized our speed. We utilized the ice surface here. We took away their size, took away their shots.”
Even though the Griffins suffered their second straight loss and are now winless in five straight games, Skoye believes her team might have turned a corner with the improved effort in the second game against the Trojans.
“As much as it sucks to lose, I think we kind of got our momentum back,” she said. “We kind of got the idea back in our head that we’ve got to skate to actually win games, and work hard, put the puck in the net. I think we’re looking forward to Red Deer (Friday).”
The Griffins meet the Queens at 8 p.m. at Londonderry Arena.