Gryphon hockey men stay focused to edge Western
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons refused to yield to the Western Mustangs in OUA men’s hockey play Thursday night at the Gryphon Centre.
“It’s always a big win when you come back a couple of times throughout the game, being down and never giving up,” Gryphon assistant coach Chris Clancy said. “Forging forward to get the win can only give you confidence moving forward.”
Clancy helped run the bench in the absence of head coach Shawn Camp who was serving a one-game suspension handed out as a result of penalties in Guelph’s preseason opener Sept. 15 at Brock.
Thursday, the Gryphs scored a pair of goals 47 seconds apart just after the midway mark of the third period to edge Western 5-4 and put an end to a three-game losing streak.
“It was a real good pace, but there are things we still need to work on defensively in our own zone,” Clancy said. “We know we’ve got a team that can move the puck well and move our feet well, we’ve just got to clean up some more things in our own zone.”
The winning goal by Marc Stevens put the Gryphs ahead for the first time in the game.
“J.P. (Villeneuve), it was his first game in a while as he had to take the year off last year for a redshirt. He just made a hard play,” Marc Stevens said of the winning goal. “We were saying all day on the bench ‘Just get the work boots on.’ He did exactly that and made the great play on the wall, took an off-pad shot and I was lucky enough to have it hit my stick and go in. All the credit to him, it was a great play.”
Four times during the match the Gryphs had tied the score after Western had gone ahead by a goal.
“Being down four different times throughout the game and to get the win at the end is awesome,” Marc Stevens said. “We’ve been going through some adversity here and there and losing some games we thought we should have won. It feels good to get back in the win column and we’ll keep going from there.”
Nick Boyer, Tryg Strand, Todd Winder and Mathieu Henderson scored the other goals for the Gryphs. Single assists were awarded to Seth Swenson, Reilly O’Connor, Henderson, Scott Simmonds, Cody Thompson, Patrick Kudla, Michael Stevens and Villeneuve.
Trevor Warnaar, Kolyen Olynek, Matt Watson and Spenser Cobbold scored for Western while Kyle Petit had two assists and Adam Sinclair, Rylan Ball and Robert Polesello had one apiece.
The win lifts the Gryphs to fifth in the West Division at 2-2-1 while Western falls to 10th at 1-3-0.
“We know our offence is going to be there when we’re moving our feet. It’s a real difference when we play simple and just get pucks and bodies to the net,” Clancy said “I hate to simplify things, but when we’re simple and just throw pucks and bodies to the net, we’re real good.”
The Gryphs are to host the Windsor Lancers (1-3-1) at the Gryphon Centre Saturday at 7:30 p.m.