Gryphon hockey women use OT marker to edge York
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons needed a goal by Katie Mikkelsen in overtime to slip by the York Lions in OUA women’s hockey league play Thursday night at the Gryphon Centre.
Defenceman Mikkelsen scored with just over a minute and a half to go in the overtime period when she stepped up and laid into a shot that zipped into the York net.
“It was exhilarating,” she said. “It was a nice pass from Karli Shell. It honestly started with the forwards and I just finished it off.”
That goal put the Gryphs ahead for the first time in the game.
Unlike the previous week when the Gryphs had plenty of time with the puck in their eventual win over the Laurier Golden Hawks, that wasn’t the case against the Lions who kept the pressure on the two-time defending league champion Gryphs.
“York is a really tough team to play against and we know that,” Guelph coach Rachel Flanagan said. “They are always better in the second half and I tell their coach that every year. We want to get them early in the second half because they figure their stuff out and they work so hard and they’re opportunistic.”
“York definitely came to play,” Mikkelsen said. “They are much better in the second half than they were in the first, but we didn’t play our best game either. We did respond and it was a back-and-forth game that could have gone either way.”
While the Gryphs couldn’t get the lead in regulation time, they were relatively quick to respond to each of York’s goals. The longest the visitors stayed ahead was just over four minutes early in the third period.
“I have a ton of respect for their team, but also for our team for finding a way,” Flanagan said, “every time they scored, to find a way to come back and never let it get out of hand.”
The Gryphs scored on all their best opportunities of the game, two of the goals coming on breakaways.
“In practice we work on burying our goals in front of the net and I think that really transfers into the game,” Mikkelsen said. “When we do get chances, we do capitalize on them.”
Captain Kaitlin Lowy had a pair of goals for the Gryphs including the goal that tied the score 3-3 with 1:23 to go in the third period. That goal came 1:37 after York had shot ahead for the third time in the game.
“Kaitlin Lowy came through huge for us when we needed her,” Flanagan said. “Those two goals she scored were huge momentum goals for us. I didn’t see the penalty at the end that she too, but it was worth it. Whatever she had to do to stop that puck from going in was worth it. Those are the penalties that you sometimes have to take and we found a way to somehow kill it off.”
What Lowy had to do in the opening minute of the three-on-three overtime was knock a would-be York scorer away from the puck and the Guelph crease. The winning goal came 35 seconds after her penalty expired.
“I think we deserved it,” Mikkelsen said of the goal and the win. “We battled back really hard. They gave it to us, but we responded right away.”
Miranda Lantz also scored for Guelph while assists were awarded to Kelly Gribbons, Meagan Lee, Molly Crossman, Karli Shell and Lowy.
Brooke Anderson, Kelsey McHolm and Jenna Gray scored the goals for York while assists were collected by Tayler Murphy, Anderson, Kayla Hosegood, Chelsea Tucker and Erin Locke.
The Gryphs outshot York 28-27 and went 0-for-5 on their power play while the Lions were 0-for-3 on their power play.
Aurore Beaulieu collected the win in net for the Gryphs while Eva Hall was tagged with the loss for York.
The win allows the Gryphs to move into a tie for second in the 13-team league with the Western Mustangs. The Gryphs are at 9-2-4-0 while Western’s at 9-1-3-2 and they trail the leading Queen’s Gaels (8-3-1-2) by a point. Queen’s has a game in hand on both the Gryphs and Western.
The Gryphs are to play the Toronto Varsity Blues (7-0-6-1) at Toronto’s Varsity Arena Saturday at 7 p.m.