Briercrest drops series finale to MacEwan
Briercrest took on the Grant MacEwan Griffins Saturday afternoon for the second game in their weekend series.
Tempers had cooled somewhat from the previous night's game, and Briercrest showed improved composure as the first period began.
Christian Mueller was sharp in turning aside a point blank scoring opportunity and that led to good offensive pressure as the line of Jacob Baribeau, Josh Peters, and Ben Feere cycled the puck well and tested MacEwan's Chris Wray. Some Griffins were shaking their heads as they coasted back to the bench when it became clear that nothing was going to come easy.
A MacEwan forward showed some sacrifice as he took a hard hit to make a pass that would open scoring for the visitors. Despite the early deficit, Briercrest refused to change their approach. Josh Peters rocked a Griffin defenceman, and the crowd roared their approval. The home team would equalize shortly afterward on a powerplay. Peters got the puck to Josh Dufresne, who showed excellent vision and patience as he put a hard pass on the stick of Jacob Baribeau, who redirected it past the goaltender to tie things up. The guests would find a go-ahead goal at 13:26 to take a 2-1 lead into the dressing room.
MacEwan came out in the second period with a mind to test Briercrest's discipline. There was a fair amount of hacking and chirping, and one Griffin showed much cowardice in jumping Dufresne and throwing unprovoked punches. The captain kept his cool, and the offender was thrown out of the game- leaving his teammates with a seven-minute penalty to kill.
The Griffins were checking frenetically throughout the ensuing powerplay, and although Briercrest had some good chances the visitors were successful in killing it off. Back at even strength, the wrecking-crew line of Josh Anderson, Alex Bechtold, and Josiah Friesen threw half a dozen hits in one shift, and Arlyn Semeschuk showed a good stick in breaking up a 3-on-2 rush. A neutral zone turnover led to another goal for MacEwan, and they were up 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Briercrest came out with good hustle in the third and came close to narrowing the gap early on when a high shot was bobbled by the goaltender, but a pair of powerplay goals for the guests were followed by two more and the game ended 7-1.
Like most contact sports, hockey has a way of promoting an angry manner of play. That Briercrest strives to find their motivation elsewhere sometimes seems like a disadvantage, but it makes them more worthy of support and compelling to watch. Players of the game were Josh Dufresne for Briercrest and Ryan Benn for MacEwan.
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