Briercrest gets first points of season in draw with MacEwan
The Briercrest Clippers came away with something to show for the weekend, earning a hard fought tie against the Grant MacEwan Griffins Saturday afternoon.
An unfortunate eleven seconds early in the first period resulted in two quick strikes by the visitors, opening a two goal lead. The Briercrest defense clamped down after that, with Matt Landers throwing several clean, hard hits and Mark MacKinnon saving a goal as he batted away a fluttering puck from behind netminder Connor Dobberthien. Grant MacEwan responded to the physical play, but with an undisciplined roughing penalty at the end of the period. Taylor Epp made them pay, taking the setup from Aaron Armstrong and Stephen Langford to cut the lead to one at the end of the frame.
The second period started with a scene straight from the blooper reel, as somehow three Griffins fell simultaneously behind the Clippers net while Briercrest turned the puck up ice. Epp and Armstrong fed Langford, who layered the puck past the Griffins' Tanner Kovacs to tie the game at two. End to end action throughout the remainder of the period resulted in great chances both ways, but it was the guests who managed to put one more on the board to take a 3-2 lead after forty minutes.
The temperature of the game rose in the third period as the battle of wills intensified. An early hit from behind by a Griffins' player resulted in a game misconduct, and there was a fair amount of chirping by the visitors as they showed more bird than lion from their namesake. An excellent cycle by Dirk de Waal and Jacob Baribeau sent the puck to Brett Lafond in the high slot, who brought the crowd to their feet as he rifled it just under the crossbar to tie the game. The zamboni had to flood the Griffins' zone twice afterwards as Briercrest carried the majority of the play throughout the period, but a late penalty kill gave the visitors a reprieve and they managed to pepper Dobberthien with a few excellent chances. He shut the door and the game headed to overtime. The five minute sudden death period solved nothing, and the game ended 3-3.
Briercrest head coach Jamie Ramer saw some positives in the result.
"I'm proud of the boys for continuing to battle,” he said. “We know that, for whatever reason, it's not going to come easy- these wins- but we got down, we battled back, and I'm proud of their effort. It's not where we wanted to end, but we're going to keep going."
Players of the game were Connor Dobberthien for Briercrest and Tanner Kovacs for Grant MacEwan.
Briercrest heads to Lac La Biche next weekend to face the Portage Voyageurs.
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