Gryphon hockey men break out against Laurentian
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons turned in their biggest single-game scoring output in almost three years Friday night as they downed the Laurentian Voyageurs 9-5 in OUA men’s hockey league play at the Gryphon Centre.
While the Gryphs did have a couple of eight-goal games last season, the nine goals Friday night were the most they’d scored since winning 11-1 over the RMC Paladins at the Gryphon Centre Jan. 10, 2015.
The Gryphs had to come back for the win as Laurentian scored the first two goals of the game.
“We’re very happy with our offence, but we have to tidy up our defensive end of it,” Gryphon coach Shawn Camp said. “That’s not just on our D and our goaltending, it’s everybody.”
The score was tied 2-2 at the end of the first period and 3-3 four minutes into the second before the Gryphs skated ahead 5-3 by the end of the second. Guelph extended the lead to 7-3 in the first five minutes of the third before cut the gap back to two goals at 16:44 of the third. The hosts added a pair of goals late in the period to restore their four-goal advantage.
“Sometimes those games happen when it’s end-to-end and chances are going both ways,” Camp said.
“With every win there are definitely some things you can sharpen up on,” said Guelph’s Marc Stevens. “Our end zone is definitely one of them. With every team there’s definitely going to be some lapses at some points, but we’re a strong team from top to bottom and I’m convinced we’re going to come back strong (Saturday) and make those changes.”
Marc Stevens led the Gryphs as he connected for four goals.
“Honestly it was just some good puck luck,” he said. “My linemates and teammates were working hard and they were lucky enough to find me. Pucks were just finding a way to the net. It was just one of those nights – pretty exciting.”
Single goals were added by Michael Stevens, Scott Simmonds, Zach McFadden, Todd Winder and Trevor Morbeck. Reilly O’Connor had three assists while Simmonds, Michael Stevens, Mark Raycroft and Patrick Kudla had two each and Seth Swenson, Cody Thompson, Max McCutcheon, Ryan Migliaccio and Manny Gialedakis had one apiece.
Xavier Couture tallied twice for Laurentian while Brent Pedersen, Luke McCaw and Blake Forslund had a goal apiece. Cray Roberge, Brent Pedersen and Scott Pedersen each had two assists and Couture, Jordan Chard and Gavin Apperson had one each.
The Gryphs outshot Laurentian 48-34 including a 19-4 advantage in the second period. Both teams scored once on their power play, the Gryphs on four power plays and Laurentian on three.
Andrew Masters was the winning goalie for the Gryphs while Victor-Oliver Courchesne took the loss for Laurentian.
The game was a hard-hitting, fast-skating contest.
“Laurentian worked very hard and that’s the way they play every night,” Camp said. “They compete really hard. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and they showed up and did exactly what we expected and that was that they’d compete for 60 minutes. The game never felt like it was easy.”
“We came out a little bit slow, not the way we usually start the game, but the team showed good resiliency. We battled back and we were able to get the two points.”
The win was the seventh in a row for the Gryphs who climbed to second in the West Division at 9-3-1.
“We’re ahead of schedule,” Camp said. “Typically we’re a second-half team. Our young guys have been getting to play a fair bit so it’s been a good roll here of late. We need to keep doing the little things well to keep it going.”
Laurentian is 10th in the East Division at 2-12-0.
The Gryphs are to host the Nipissing Lakers (5-6-3) in their Alumni Day Game Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Gryphon Centre.
“We’ll have to be a little tidier in our second game in such a short turnaround,” Camp said. “It’s good. It’ll be fresh on everybody’s mind. We want the offence and we need to continue to create scoring chances, but we need to make sure that without the puck we’re playing just a little tighter.”
It’ll be their final home game of 2017.