“Learn How to Win”: Looking to bounce back following a tough loss against Hobart

By Canio Marasco

Sports Reporter

The Griffs lost a heartbreaker to the Hobart Statesmen in double overtime on Tuesday. Despite playing well again, the Griffs collapsed in the fourth quarter, a common theme thus far this season.

The Griffs lost to the Statesmen 8-7 in double overtime. The Griffs had a commanding 6-3 lead into the fourth quarter. However, the Griffs gave-up four goals in the final frame, while only scoring one, forcing the game to overtime. After a scoreless frame, the Statesmen ended the sudden-death period with a goal by Chris Aslainian. Both Connor Kearnan and Jeff Edwards contributed offensively for the Griffs, with five and three points respectively. Through his stellar performance, Kearnan moved ahead of Edwards for the team lead in points.

Coach Randy Mearns, on the tough loss, stated, “We weren’t happy with it [loss in double overtime]. It really stung. It was kind of reminiscent of the Boston University game, where we were leading and were winning against a very good team. We haven’t figured out how to close-out games. We played a complete sixty minutes against Vermont…We played phenomenal for fifty-five minutes, but when the game was on the line, we just lost a little bit of focus.”

In the Boston University game, much like against the Statesmen, the Griffs started the game quickly. In their match-up against Boston University, the Griffs were leading 7-5 going into the fourth quarter. Despite the commanding lead, the Griffs fell 10-8, collapsing in the fourth quarter. The Griffs, against the Statesmen, were in the same position – they had a commanding lead heading to the fourth, but simply couldn’t pull-out the win.

 

After the harsh loss, Coach Mearns characterized the state of the locker room, stating “The locker room was down after the loss. All of our guys are so dedicated and we realized that we let that game slip away, which stings because we want to win. There’s a different mentality after the loss when one realizes that they performed well enough to win. We’ve responded with a good practice. We sat as a group and we tried to figure out the kinks.”

Standout junior midfielder, Jeff Edwards, on how the team took the loss, stated, “We’re never happy when we lose, but we feel we played three good quarters. We also played well in the first ten minutes of the fourth quarter, but we made a few mistakes, which ended up costing us…I think we have a lot of young guys who are having a tough time on the big stage [the fourth quarter], but I think as the season progresses, we’ll get better at that.”

In the loss, Jeff Edwards continued his impressive season. In three games this season, the junior has totaled nine points. Edwards, on his performance this year, stated, “I think it’s really a function of just getting involved with my teammates. I’ve really been letting the game come to me, if I find myself open, I’m confident that the ball will come to me and I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of good opportunities.”

An aspect of the game that the Griffs need to improve in the fourth quarter, according to Coach Mearns, is defensive communication. In the fourth quarter this season, the Griffs have allowed 10 goals, in comparison to the four they’ve scored. Coming out of halftime, the Griffs, in the third quarter, allow the least amount of shots in comparison to all quarters. However, in the fourth quarter the amount of shots increases considerably. This coupled with poor offensive output in the fourth quarter has produced two blown games.   

The Griffs next game is against the Siena Saints. The Saints have started the season 1-4, with three of those losses by two goals or less. Much like the Griffs, the Saints simply haven’t been able to pull-out wins in close games. An area that has been an issue for the Saints is their offense. While their opponents have totaled 59 goals, the Saints have only scored 45. In comparison, even though the Griffs have played far less games, they have scored two more goals than their opponents in total this season.  

Coach Mearns, on the match-up with the Saints, stated, “We have to get off to a good start against Siena. We feel if we have good goaltending we can be in any game…We have to continue to play good team defense, but we need to do a better job communicating. When we communicate, we feel our defense is very strong, but when we don’t, we definitely have some issues and problems. We need to be fifty percent or better in face-offs because possession is key. But, above all we need to capitalize. Our defense has been playing great and we’ve been taking a lot of shots, but we haven’t been scoring enough. We’re getting the shots and opportunities; we just need to take our chances.”

Despite the poor 1-2 start, the Griffs record is very misleading. They have played tough in every game this season, they simply haven’t won their close games. Coach Mearns summed-up the start to the season by stating, “The good news is we are at a very high level, it simply that we need to learn how to win. When you have a couple of these stinging losses, we really get to drill down into the team and figure out the kinks…”

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