Gryphon hockey men nipped to open West final
LONDON – The Guelph Gryphons surrendered a goal with about five and a half minutes to go in the third period as they suffered a 4-3 loss to the Western Mustangs in the opening game of the OUA men’s hockey league’s West Division final at Western’s Thompson Arena.
Second game of the best-of-three series is to go Saturday at the Gryphon Centre.
Kyle Petit connected for Western in a scramble from in front of the Guelph net. The Gryphons pressed late, especially during the final minute after lifting goaltender Andrew Masters for an extra skater.
That goal gave Western the lead for the first time in the game and it was also the only goal not scored in the second period.
After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for six goals in the second period. The Gryphs led three times in that period, but Western tied it up each time.
Their first lead after Justin Lemcke opened the scoring in the series lasted five minutes and seven seconds, their longest lead of the game.
Andres Kopstals put Guelph back in the lead 38 seconds after Western tied it, but the Mustangs were quick to reply as they pulled even 51 seconds later.
Mikkel Aagaard gave the Gryphs another lead just over six minutes later, but Western was even quicker to knot it up again as the hosts scored 18 seconds after that goal.
Seth Swenson, Cody Thompson, Tryg Strand, Jesse Saban, Scott Simmonds and Todd Winder each collected an assist for the Gryphs.
Mitchell Fitzmorris, Cordell James and Mitchell Brooks scored the second-period goals for Western while Kolten Olynek had two assists and Kenny Huether, Stephen Desrocher, Anthony Stefano, Trent Ouellette and Brooks had one apiece.
The Gryphs outshot Western 35-30 thanks to a 21-10 advantage in the second period. Guelph also went 2-for-3 on its power play and held Western scoreless on four power plays.
Masters blocked 26 shots and Western’s Luke Peresinni stopped 32.
Game time Saturday at the Gryphon Centre is 7:30 p.m.
If the Gryphs win that game, the third and final game of the series is to go Sunday at Western beginning at 7 p.m.
No matter the outcome of Saturday’s game, it will be the final home game of the season for the Gryphs. If they win the series, they’ll advance to the OUA’s Queen’s Cup championship. It’s a one-game winner-take-all format and will be at either Carleton or Queen’s as both of the East Division finalists had more regular-season points than the Gryphs.
The two championship-game combatants also qualify for the U Sports national tournament that is to be held at Lethbridge March 14 to 17.
Mustangs 4 Gryphons 3
Penalties: Timms Gue (cross checking), 15:16; Templeton Gue (roughing), 17:06; Laser West (holding opponnent’s stick), 17:52.
1. Guelph, Lemcke (Swenson, Thompson), 6:12 pp
2. Western, Fitzmorris (Huether), 11:19
3. Guelph, Kopstals (Strand, Saban), 11:57
4. Western, James (Desrocher, Stefano), 12:48
5. Guelph, Aagaard (Simmonds, Winder), 18:57 pp
6. Western, Brooks (Olynek, Ouellette), 19:15
Penalties: Lemcke Gue (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:15; Lemcke Gue (tripping), 1:52; Laser West (delay of game), 4:16; Huether West (tripping), 18:46; Lemcke Gue (roughing after the whistle), Ouellette West (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:15.
7. Western, Petit (Brooks, Olynek), 14:37
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Masters (L, 30 shots-26 saves), Guelph; Peresinni (L, 35 shots-32 saves), Western.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Guelph 2-3; Western 0-4.
- Guelph Sports Journal