Gryphon hockey women squeeze into playoffs
SUDBURY – The Guelph Gryphons have to be thankful for the Ryerson Rams who helped the Gryphs qualify for the OUA women’s hockey league’s playoffs on the final night of the league’s regular season.
The Gryphs clinched the eighth and final playoff berth Saturday night when Ryerson handed the Western Mustangs a 3-1 setback at Western’s Thompson Arena. That loss left the Gryphs in eighth, three points ahead of Western.
Wins in regulation time are worth three points in OUA women’s hockey and had Western won, the Mustangs would’ve been in the playoffs and the defending national champion Gryphons would’ve been done for the season. While Western and Guelph would’ve been tied in the standings, the Mustangs would’ve won the tie-breaker as they would’ve had 12 league wins, one more than Guelph, and that’s the first tie-breaker. League wins are wins obtained in regulation time or overtime. Shootout wins don’t factor in.
The Gryphs found themselves having to watch for scores from London after they squeezed out a 3-2 win in overtime over the Laurentian Voyageurs at Sudbury’s Countryside arena earlier in the day. Wins in overtime are worth two points in the league.
That win put a halt to Guelph’s three-game losing streak. They also head into the playoffs with two wins in their last seven games.
Hannah Tait’s goal at 3:23 of overtime lifted the Gryphs to their win over Laurentian. Sydney Davison and Gabriele Underwood scored in regulation time for Guelph while Cyan Roepke had two assists in the game and Nicole MacKinnon and Kristen Jay had one apiece.
Madison Heeney and Annie Sheridan scored for the Voyageurs while Morgan McCann, Regan Toltesi and Karissa Hoskin each had one assist.
The Gryphs outshot Laurentian 5-1 in overtime, thanks partly to spending the first 1:38 on a power play. The locals outshot Laurentian 44-30 overall and neither team scored a power-play goal. The Gryphs had two power plays and Laurentian had three.
Alexandrea Davidson had 28 saves to get the overtime win for the Gryphs while Danielle Toland had 41 saves for Laurentian.
The Gryphs finish the regular season in eighth place at 10-8-2-4. Such is the closeness of the 13-team league that they finished nine points behind the second-place Nipissing Lakers (14-7-2-1) and eight ahead of 10th-place Laurentian (6-10-4-4).
The Guelph squad is to play the first-place Toronto Varsity Blues (17-4-1-2) in the best-of-three quarter-finals. Dates for the series have not been announced, but it’s expected to start Wednesday night at Toronto.
The Gryphs split their two regular-season games with the Varsity Blues, losing 3-2 in a shootout at Toronto Nov. 1 and winning 3-0 at the Gryphon Centre Jan. 5 in their first game back from the exams and Christmas break.
Gryphons 3 Voyageurs 2 (OT)
- Guelph Sports Journal