Gryphon hockey women shut down York Lions
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons kept the league-leading York Lions scoreless for more than 55 minutes on their way to a 3-1 victory in OUA women’s hockey league play Wednesday night at the Gryphon Centre.
After a scoreless first period, the Gryphs scored the lone goal of the second and then added two goals by the 13-minute mark of the third to get a bit of breathing space.
However, the Lions were quick to pull their goaltender in favour of an extra attacker and it paid off with their lone goal of the game with 3:16 to play.
Miranda Lantz, Nicole MacKinnon and Karli Shell connected for a goal apiece for the Gryphs while rookie Maya Graham had two assists and Emma Forcey, Gabby Smyth, Cyan Roepcke and Gabriele Underwood each had one.
“I thought overall it was a really good team effort, but when you get players chipping in that aren’t playing a ton of minutes, but every minute they play is outstanding and that’s what happened,” Gryphon coach Rachel Flanagan said.
Two of Guelph’s goals came from the fourth line of Forcey, MacKinnon and Graham.
“How you win seasons is to have depth in your lineup,” Flanagan said. “We weren’t sure at the beginning of the year and we’re still so young. We talked to the team in between periods and we’re asking some of them to do things that are very veteran, but it’s because we believe they can. That line is made up of a fourth-year (Forcey), a second-year (MacKinnon) and a first-year (Graham) and they were outstanding tonight.”
Christina Chin scored for York in a scramble around the Guelph net while Samantha Jones and Becky Higgs assisted on the goal.
The Lions outshot the Gryphs 26-23 thanks to a 14-5 advantage in the third period, most of York’s shots coming with goaltender Lauren Dubie on the bench.
Aurore Beaulieu stopped 25 shots to get the win for Guelph while Dubie had 20 saves.
For Beaulieu the win was her sixth of the season and third of 2020. She entered the season with a career record of 19-1-0 in three seasons as back-up to perennial all-star Valerie Lamenta.
“We know how good Aurore is,” Flanagan said. “Last year her numbers proved it. At the start of this year, she had an injury at the beginning of the year and it really set her back. We probably returned her to play too early and it really took a toll on everyone. You learn from mistakes, but since Christmas she’s been outstanding — just totally back to what we expected her to be this year. Again, that’s how you win hockey games when you’ve got your best defender as your goalie on a penalty kill.”
Beaulieu had a perfect 8-0-0 record last season with a .946 save percentage and 1.48 goals-against average.
There wasn’t a power-play goal in Wednesday’s game although the Gryphs had six power plays, one more than York.
The result leaves the Gryphs at 9-4-1-3 and York at 12-6-0-1.
“We’re in fourth now. We went from seventh to fourth tonight in one game,” Flanagan said. “We have a few games in hand on some teams. We were two games in hand on York tonight so we still have two games in hand on them and we play them again. There’s a huge opportunity there for us to catch some teams.”
Toronto Varsity Blues (11-4-1-2) and York are tied for the league lead while the Nipissing Lakers (11-5-0-1) are third and Gryphs fourth. Waterloo Warriors (8-7-3-1) and Brock Badgers (9-5-1-2) are tied for fifth. The top nine are separated by nine points and eight qualify for the playoffs.
The league awards three points for a win in regulation time, two points for a win in overtime or a shootout and one points for a loss in overtime or a shootout.
“There are no nights off,” Flanagan said. “Even teams that are near the bottom of our league, you can’t take a night off against them because everyone is getting better. It’s just becoming more and more equal as the years go on.”
Gryphons 3 Lions 1
Guelph Sports Journal