MacEwan-NAIT All-Stars shut out Oilers rookies
After alternating time between staring at the heavens, clanking iron and taking the numbers of the goalies that stonewalled them, the Oilers rookies succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against the MacEwan-NAIT All-Stars at Rogers Place.
"It's a bit of a tough pill to swallow, but give them credit and their goaltender—he was unbelievable," said Oilers' Chad Butcher, who was robbed by MacEwan's Marc-Olivier Daigle (pictured above) on a one-timer in the final minute of the first period. "I don't know if it was two guys splitting or not, but whoever was in there was unbelievable. Credit to them."
PORTRAIT: "I honestly didn't see this coming. I was a walk-on at tryouts for the Griffins hockey team in first year, and if you had told me that four years later I would be playing in the Edmonton Oilers rookie game in Rogers Place, I would have though you were joking." Read more.
You can't blame Butcher for not noticing the goalie switch with 10:25 left in the second period. Marc-Oliver and NAIT's Nathan Park were so equally spectacular in presenting a brick wall to the Oilers.
Marc-Oliver made 19 stops—several of the highlight variety—before handing things over to NAIT's goalie, who stopped 30 (including one that rolled down his back in the third period), preserving the combined shutout.
"If you'd have told me that before the game, I'd have taken that for sure," said Marc-Oliver. "I think we both got in there and did a good job. The team played well in front of us—blocked a lot of shots. "Obviously, we're really happy with the result today."
NAIT's Thomas Foster opened the scoring for the all-star team when he took a stretch pass from MacEwan defenceman Tyler Morrison (pictured above) and chipped it over Oilers goalie Dylan Wells.
"It was really good to get it right off the start," said Tyler of the tally. "Going into the game you don't know what to expect with the speed and everything, but once we kind of felt each other out, I think our team got more comfortable as the game went on. That goal really helped out, for sure."
NAIT's Jarid Hauptman iced the 2-0 win with 2:31 left in the game, and MacEwan's Ryan Benn (pictured above) picked up an assist on the play.
In the end, the Oilers outshot MacEwan-NAIT 49-19 but came up empty.
"We're just playing," said Marc-Oliver of several great reactionary saves he made during the contest. "I was just trying to mix in a save there."
After the game, both teams shook hands, saluted the fans and stayed on the ice for a group picture. Clearly the experience was great for everyone.
"It was fun," said Butcher of the Oilers. "They were definitely comparable to the other (NHL) rookies teams. They brought a good game."
While MacEwan and NAIT are bitter foes in their home league, the ACAC, both teams seemed happy to put their rivalry aside for a night.
"It was a real quick experience—just one practice and a game," said Tyler. "But it's pretty easy to put our differences aside for a game like this. It's a great experience for both of our teams. I think coming together like we did helped in the end."
The Griffins are now preparing for their season opener on October 6 at SAIT. Their first home game is on October 7 at 6 p.m. in the Downtown Community Arena.
Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics. Originally published on MacEwanGriffins.ca