Gryphon hockey women working overtime at home
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons have shown early in this OUA women’s hockey league season that they don’t mind working some overtime to home.
“It feels like we just can’t catch a break,” Gryphon coach Rachel Flanagan said. “We hit posts and crossbars and have glorious opportunities and sometimes we’re also putting it right into the goalie so there’s a little mix of both, but I still think we’re young and we’re outplaying teams. It’s going to come. It has to come at some point. I’m just happy to be getting the wins in overtime.”
Guelph Gryphons 2 Windsor 1 (OT)
Saturday at the Gryphon Centre, Hannah Tait of the Gryphs scored 36 seconds into the extra period to give the locals a 2-1 win over the Windsor Lancers.
“I had that in my head that if I got an opportunity on that three-on-three where there’s a lot more space that I would try to deke because after playing them for two games we kind of realized their goalie kind of came out a lot but their D did a good job at blocking us out,” Tait said. “I thought if I had space, and one of my good friends, Rylee (Davison), she saw me coming and I had spaced. So I faked it, went around and it worked out.”
It was the second overtime win over Windsor at the Gryphon Centre in 24 hours and their fourth consecutive home game that went into overtime. They won three of them.
“It is tough (playing a team twice in 24 hours),” Tait said. “It’s tough, but it’s not because you get used to kinda what they’re doing and what to expect from them, but the same goes for them. They know probably what we’re going to do and our strengths and our weaknesses. There are going to be lots of rivalries this year because you’re still mad at them from yesterday or the same person is still bugging you. It really brings up the competition because you get more familiar with the teams and what they do.”
The Gryphs don’t have a regulation-time win or loss on home ice this season as their four overtime games represent the entire home schedule that they’ve played so far. The only home game this season that didn’t go into overtime was a 2-0 preseason loss to the Toronto Varsity Blues Oct. 27. Since then the Gryphs beat Western Mustangs 3-2 in their season and home opener Nov. 3 and they lost 3-2 to the Waterloo Warriors a week later.
But why can’t the Gryphs get the job done during regulation time?
“That’s something we really want to focus on,” Tait said. “We’re super glad we’ve been able to do it once we get to overtime, we’ve been able to bury it. I think it just comes down to little details that will come as we grow together and get more games in. We get so many chances, but we’re struggling to just bear down and bury it. Just a few little details that will come together and as we get more confident we can hopefully when we get it out front just bury it in the back of the net. We have a lot of great shots on our team so I think just (getting) a bit more comfortable playing together, I think it will come for sure.”
Saturday, Windsor scored 10 seconds into the game and the Gryphs pulled even in the 15th minute of the second period after holding an advantage in territorial play.
“They did a really great job of being really tight in their D zone and we couldn’t get through and when we did it was limited time and space and you had to get a shot off really quick,” Flanagan said. “All credit to them. They played a pretty strong game.”
Chihiro Suzuki scored the second-period goal for Guelph while Gabriele Underwood, Avery Peer and Davison had assists during the game.
Paige McArthur scored for Windsor with help from Maggie Peterson.
Windsor was scoreless on its lone power play while the Gryphs went 1-for-5 with a manpower advantage.
Kathryn Raymond stopped 14 shots to get the win in net for the hosts while Holly Borrett had 28 saves in the overtime loss for the Lancers.
The Gryphs outshot Windsor 30-15 including the second period when they had eight shots and didn’t yield a shot to the Lancers.
One thing the Gryphs are keeping track of is the amount of time they spend in their own zone. Obviously, less is best.
“First period we were probably averaging 10 to 12 seconds per D zone possession for them and then it came down a little bit,” Flanagan said. “We’re trying to play a seven-second defence and I thought we did a pretty good job in the second.
“A seven-second defence means that when the puck gets in your zone there’s got to be contact right away. The second player’s got to be in to pick the puck up and then we’re making a pass to get out of the zone. It shouldn’t even take seven seconds. It means that they don’t get offence zone time. They come in on entry, they get a chance and then we’re breaking it back out the other way. That’s kind of our goal.”
Tracking the defensive zone time is something relatively new for the Gryphs.
“It’s not something that we’ve always tracked, but it’s something that we’re trying to do this year because it’s just a mental reminder each time that they have possession of the puck, we’ve got to get contact on them, second player’s quick to get to the battle and then we’re breaking pucks out,” Flanagan said. “The longer we spend means that we’re either not making those contact plays or our first pass isn’t getting us out of the zone.”
Waterloo leads the West Division at 3-0-1-0 while the Gryphs are second at 1-1-3-1. They’re followed by the Brock Badgers at 2-1-1-0, Laurier Golden Hawks at 1-3-0-0, Windsor at 0-1-0-3 and Western at 0-1-0-1.
The Gryphs are to complete the 2021 portion of their schedule with a pair of games against Brock this week. They’re to tangle in St. Catharines Thursday at 7:15 p.m. and at the Gryphon Centre Saturday at 2 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal