Written by: Rodvie Barnachea
EDMONTON, Alta. - In their last home game of 2019, the NAIT Ooks men's hockey team defeated the MacEwan Griffins 3-0, extending their winning streak to seven, while snapping MacEwan's streak of six straight victories.
The story of tonight's game was the goaltender duel between NAIT's Jordan Papirny and MacEwan's Marc-Olivier Daigle. Papirny stopped all 28 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season — earning him the Player of the Game honour for the Ooks.
"It's something you don't really think about until the third period," Papirny said regarding the shutout. "Even then, it's such an intense game. I thought the boys did a really good job of maintaining the game, controlling the play, and the final buzzer goes, and you have a clean sheet."
Papirny leads the ACAC in GAA, Save Percentage, and Wins amongst goaltenders. His counterpart, Daigle, stopped 31 of the 33 shots he saw.
Penalties were a factor as the Ooks had eight powerplays, while the Griffins had six chances.
"Special teams on both sides probably want to be better for tomorrow. But to get a late powerplay goal, to get that late 2-0 lead, definitely helped our group gain some confidence," said NAIT Ooks head coach Tim Fragle.
With 2:26 seconds left in the opening period, NAIT's Branden Klatt notched his sixth goal of the season on a rebound, beating Daigle to the blocker side, which proved to be the only scoring needed for the Ooks tonight. With 5.3 seconds remaining in the first period, Daigle made a point-blank glove save, stoning NAIT's Colby Livingstone in front of the net to the keep game at 1-0. Shots at the end of the first frame were 15-10, in favour of the Griffins. The second period would see both teams going scoreless and the Griffins leading 24-20 on the shot clock.
Late in the third period, the Griffins were able to kill a 57-second 5-on-3 powerplay to give their team a chance. However, with 1:21 left in the third period, Ooks' Captain Colton Waltz beat Daigle with a slapshot from the point to give his team an insurance goal on another powerplay. NAIT's Tanner Younghans finished the game's scoring on an empty-netter.
"In the fashion that we got the victory was probably the most gratifying part. We stuck with the game plan," said Coach Fragle.
Both teams play the second of a back-to-back tomorrow with the Griffins hosting the rematch at Downtown Community Arena at 6:00 pm.
Players of the Game:
NAIT Ooks – Jordan Papirny
MacEwan Griffins – Marc-Olivier Daigle
The Big Picture:
NAIT Ooks - 12-1 - 1st in the ACAC
MacEwan Griffins - 9-4 – 3rd in the ACAC
NAIT Ooks @ MacEwan Griffins - Nov.30th - 6:00 pm.
MacEwan Griffins vs. NAIT Ooks - Nov.30th - 6:00 pm.