GAME 1: MacEwan Griffins 7 @ NAIT Ooks 3

March 16, 2018

The MacEwan Griffins steal Game 1 of the ACAC Final with a convincing 7-3 victory. Defenseman Tyler Morrison scored two goals and propels the Griffins to just one win away to claim the ACAC Men's Hockey Championship.

Game Report

Game Story & Notes

Game Story:

The NAIT Ooks were missing four key players on their roster coming into Game 1 of the ACAC Final. Jake Mykitiuk, Tanner Dunkle, Tyler Robertson and Brett Magee were all missing action due to suspensions or injuries. As a result, head coach Tim Fragle was forced to dress 10 forwards and eight defenseman on Friday night. 

"We had to mix-and-match a bit. We had some holes tonight. And we didn't have the same help [as the we got in the Augustana series] tonight," stated Fragle following the game. 

When the puck dropped, it was all Griffins They were pushing the Ooks around from start to finish.

The Griffins powerplay came into this hockey game with a 1-for-9 mark in the playoffs, but it was Sean MacTavish who got things started on the man-advantage. Following a Foster tripping minor, MacTavish scored his fourth goal of the ACAC Playoffs and the Griffins never looked back. 

MacEwan pushed the pace, had the Ooks on their heels and had a couple of big name players step up on the big stage. 

The aforementioned MacTavish followed up his goal with two assists on the night, giving him his first three-point night of the season. ACAC Player of the Year Brett Njaa was spectacular, notching his second two-point night of the playoffs (goal and assist). But it was defenseman Tyler Morrison who was the real difference maker for MacEwan. 

Morrison was active with his stick, utilized his great speed and scored two huge goals for his club. Both goals restored three-goal leads right when the Ooks seem to have life again; he was rightfully named the ACAC Player of the Game. 

One bright spot for NAIT was right winger Francis Menard. The 5th year Emergency Management student chipped in on all three NAIT Ooks goals, adding to his impressive totals in the playoffs. Menard currently has six points in three playoff games and has 14 points in his last seven overall. 

"All of us just need to show up tomorrow, play as a team and we should be fine," commented Menard following the 7-3 loss. 

Menard will likely be reunited with linemate Jake Mykitiuk, as the ACAC points leader in the regular season has finished serving his three game suspension. 

Team Notes:

  • Goaltender Nathan Park got the hook after allowing four goals on 18 shots  (.778 Sv%). Patrick Gora came in relief, stopping 18 of 20 shots directed is way (.900 Sv%). Expect Nathan Park to start tomorrow night in Game 2.
  • RW Francis Menard loves playing at the NAIT Arena this season. Whether it be favourable match-ups or just a better feel for the arena, the 6'0" foward is capable of producing night in and night out. Home games this season:
    • Regular Season: 12GP, 7G, 9A, 16 PTS
    • Playoffs: 2GP, 2G, 3A, 5 PTS
  • After operating at a 25.9% clip during the regular season, the Ooks powerplay has been ice cold. NAIT went 0-for-2 on the night, which makes them 0-for-9 in the playoffs to date. The Ooks powerplay needs to get going if they want any chance at claiming the ACAC title. 

Next up

McEwan Griffins (Griffins Lead 1-0)

With their backs against the wall, the NAIT Ooks will take on the MacEwan Griffins in Game 2 of the CCM ACAC Final. Jake Mykitiuk makes his 2018 playoff debut, with puck drop at 6:00 p.m. at the Downtown Community Arena. 

  • Saturday: 6:00 p.m. @ GMU
    • Watch: ACAC TV
  • *Sunday: 6:30 p.m. @ NAIT
    • Watch & Listen: ACAC TV & NR92

           *If necessary