Gryphon hockey women again surprised by Ridgebacks

GUELPH – The playoff ambitions of the defending national champion Guelph Gryphons took a hit Wednesday night as they were downed 3-1 by the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks in OUA women’s hockey play at the Gryphon Centre.

The game was the final home game of the regular season and the loss left them tied for eighth with the Western Mustangs. Top eight qualify for the playoffs and Western holds the tie-breaker on the Gryphs.

However, the league awards three points for a regulation-time win, two for a win in overtime or in a shootout and one for a loss in overtime or a shootout. The Gryphs can still finish anywhere from fifth (they’ll lose a tie-breaker for fourth with the Brock Badgers) to 10th.

The Ridgebacks scored the final two goals of Wednesday’s game to complete a season series sweep of the Gryphons. Ontario Tech had won 5-4 in overtime in Oshawa Nov. 16.

After a scoreless first period, the Ridgebacks were ahead 2-1 at the end of the second period, a period that saw all three goals scored in the first nine minutes of the period. Ontario Tech added a power-play goal with one minute to go in the third.

Molly Crossman struck for the lone goal for the Gryphs. She received held from Gabby Smyth and Sophie Rodenburg.

Natalie Wozney had two goals for Ontario Tech while Erin Ross had the other one. Megan Johnston assisted on two of the goals while Mia Rogers, Kassidy Ford and Nicole Zabel each had one assist.

The Gryphs outshot the Ridgebacks 34-16, but were scoreless on three power plays while Ontario Tech went 1-for-4.

Aurore Beaulieu had 13 saves for the Gryphs while Briar Hughes had 33.

The Gryphs are at 10-8-1-3, good for a tie for eighth with Western (9-8-3-2) with 35 points apiece. Ryerson Rams (10-8-2-2) are at 36 points, Queen’s Gaels (10-9-3-1) at 37, Waterloo Warriors (11-9-3-1) are at 40 and Brock Badgers (12-6-1-3) are at 41. Waterloo’s finished its regular season while Queen’s has one game to go and the others have two.

Toronto Varsity Blues (16-4-1-2) have clinched a first-place finish while the York Lions (14-7-0-2), Nipissing Lakers (13-7-1-1) and Brock have clinched playoff berths.

Ontario Tech finished its regular season with Wednesday’s win. The Ridgebacks will finish 11th in the 13-team league with a 5-14-5-0 record.

The Ridgebacks finished as the only team in the league not to lose a game that went beyond regulation time and they also won eight of the 11 games they played in the 2020 portion of the season, three of them in overtime and one in a shootout. A nine-game losing streak to start the season put them too far behind to recover. Ontario Tech’s first win of the season was the victory on home ice over the Gryphs in November.

The Gryphs are to finish their regular season this weekend with a pair of road games. They’re to play Nipissing at North Bay Friday at 4:30 p.m. and the Laurentian Voyageurs (6-9-4-3) in Sudbury Saturday at 4 p.m.

Laurentian can finish in a tie with both the Gryphs and Western by winning its final two games and having both Western and Guelph losing their final two games, but the Voyageurs will not qualify for the playoffs as they’ll lose a tie-breaker due to having a total of 10 regulation-time and overtime wins, one less than the current totals of both the Gryphs and Western.

 

Ridgebacks 3 Gryphons 1
Ontario Tech     0-2-1–3
Guelph               0-1-0–1
 
Click here for boxscore

 

  • Guelph Sports Journal