20220224 GMHKY 11

Gryphon hockey men blanked in Frosty Mug

GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons have become known as a second-half team in the OUA men’s hockey league and they’re going to need to call on that ability to have any inkling of a chance of playing a playoff game this season.

The Gryphs suffered their third consecutive loss and fourth of their five games played in 2022 when they were blanked 4-0 by the Laurier Golden Hawks Thursday night at the Sleeman Centre in the return of the Frosty Mug Game.

Laurier 4 Guelph Gryphons 0

“We’re in a hole for sure,” coach Shawn Camp said. “We need a couple of bodies back to help us just so we have enough players to get through the season. But beyond that, we have to get back to scoring again and creating offence like we were doing before Christmas. With four home games, we still have an opportunity here to control our destiny, but there has to be an urgency to win immediately.”

The Gryphs have been left in the basement of the five-team Far West Division and clearly threatened with being the lone team of the division not to qualify for the playoffs.

The locals were hit by a forfeiture of three wins from the first half of the season due to having only a single goaltender suited up for those games with no back-up on the bench. They also had five players (forwards Gio Finoro, Lucas Chiodo, Nick Isaacson and Aidan Brown and defenceman Ryan DaSilva) decide to pursue pro hockey opportunities during the extended break for exams, Christmas and the pandemic lockdown. Finoro and Chiodo joined teams in the Alps Hockey League while the other three became members of ECHL squads. They had combined for 10 of the 24 goals the Gryphs had scored in league play in 2021.

“It’s tough for anybody to absorb the loss of five players, especially given the calibre of the guys we lost,” Camp said. “We knew in the second half that this was going to be a bit of a battle, but we really trust the group that we have in the sense that we’re a pretty deep group. We’ve put a lot of guys in positions now where they’re in critical roles.

“There’s certainly opportunity in our program now because we’ve moved so many players on. Those five guys that we lost at Christmas, that was in addition to the eight that we lost the year before when there was no season so players turned pro immediately. There’s lots of holes to fill here as we move forward, but we’ll try to replenish our depth again.”

Thursday, the Gryphs had 14 players dressed for their marquee game of the season and that included only one goaltender. However, the team knew beforehand that they wouldn’t have to forfeit the game for that reason this time.

“The league is aware of it and everything and they seem to have come to terms with the fact that we only have one goalie available so they’ve agreed that we can continue to play,” Camp said.

The Frosty Mug, held during Reading Week for the first time, attracted a subdued crowd of 2,000. The result leaves the Gryphons with a 7-5 edge in Frosty Mug wins including a 5-2 advantage in Frosty Mugs against Laurier. But Laurier has won the last two and the two teams have met in the last five Frosty Mugs. Previous games were against Waterloo Warriors and Laurier twice each and York Lions, Brock Badgers and Western Mustangs once each.

Thursday, Laurier scored single goals in the first and second periods before adding two more in the third.

Anthony Sorrentino, Michael Silveri, Nick Giunta and Caleb Rich had a goal apiece for Laurier while James Thomson had two assists and Grayden Gottschalk, Rich, Patrick Brown, Silveri, Adrian Nabuurs and Jake Payette each had one.

Both teams were scoreless on their power play, the Gryphs on five and Laurier on one, and the Golden Hawks outshot Guelph 28-23.

“We struggled offensively to create a lot of quality chances,” Camp said. “We got some pucks to the net, but there wasn’t much follow-up on it and, unfortunately, we didn’t score on our power play which was dangerous at times. Not scoring on those power plays gave away some momentum, too.”

Guelph has five points while Laurier and the Western Mustangs each have 12 and the Waterloo Warriors have 10.

The Gryphs have five games left in their regular season, four at the Gryphon Centre. They’re to play Western twice (March 4 at Western, March 5 at home), Laurier (March 9) and Windsor Lancers twice at home (March 12 and 13).

“(We need to) find ways to create offence, find a way to get traction offensively here to win. We need to win immediately,” Camp said. “We have to find a way to win games in the second half.”

Frosty Mug Results

2022: Laurier 4 Gryphons 0
2021: No game, coronavirus pandemic
2020: Laurier 4 Gryphons 3
2019: Gryphons 3 Laurier 2
2018: Gryphons 5 Laurier 0
2017: Gryphons 2 Laurier 1
2016: Western 3 Gryphons 2
2015: Gryphons 6 Brock 4
2014: York 2 Gryphons 1
2013: Gryphons 3 Waterloo 2
2012: Gryphons 5 Laurier 3
2011: Gryphons 3 Laurier 2
2010: Waterloo 3 Gryphons 1
  • Guelph Sports Journal