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Gryphon soccer men feast on Laurier Golden Hawks

GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons warmed up for the upcoming playoffs by feasting on the Laurier Golden Hawks Wednesday night in OUA men’s soccer league play at the Gryphon Soccer Complex.

The Gryphs scored three times in the second half to drop Laurier 4-0.

Guelph Gryphons 4 Laurier 0

While the Gryphs were ahead 1-0 at halftime, they were a little disappointed that the lead wasn’t a little larger.

“I thought the first half we were brilliant,” Gryphon coach Keith Mason said. “I thought we played beautiful soccer. We moved the ball well and then the final third, we tried the difficult ball or we did something fancy when simple would’ve sufficed and that’s what we talked about at halftime. We’ve got to put this team away and the way we do it is by being ruthless. We’ve got to be ruthless in the final third.

“We talked about it before the game and at halftime we haven’t done it. This game should already have been to bed and they’re still in it. We’ve got to get ruthless and we’ve got to keep it simple. You know, they just came flying out of the traps second half and we were fantastic and I thought (the Gryphon players) were ruthless. Again, the spirit’s high and they listen and they try and they want to keep improving on things we need to and one of those is our final third actions. We have to still keep improving on that.”

A pair of goals in the first nine minutes of the second half put an end to any thoughts of an upset by Laurier in the match dominated by the Gryphs.

“Always the next goal is going to be important and their spirit is not at the best as it is,” Mason said. “As soon as we got that second, you could see it in their body language. That was a huge blow for them. They had all talked at half time I’m sure about they were still in the game and come out and fight and here’s what we can do. And then we just come right at them and scored two very quick goals. Bang, bang. Then the game’s over as a contest. I credit our guys with that because they were disappointed that the first half was a glass half full. We played very well, but we’d done a lot of disappointing actions at key moments. That’s what we asked to improve upon and we did and scored three goals.”

Guelph outshot Laurier 17-1 – 11-1 in shots on target.

Cole Fernandez, Owen McKee, Mitch Lefebvre and Jack Pensom had a goal apiece while Colin Gander had two assists and Ian Vidovich and McKee had one apiece.

Svyatoslav Artemenko had the shutout, his sixth of the season.

Guelph’s scoring included a pair of goals on corner kicks.

“We’re deadly from set pieces,” Mason said. “We have been all year, and we finally got some in open play which bodes well going into playoffs.”

The Gryphs and Golden Hawks are at the opposite ends of the West Division standings. The Gryphs are the lone undefeated team in the entire league, the win over Laurier leaving them at 7-0-2 with a single game to go in the regular season.

The Golden Hawks are sixth in the six-team division at 1-6-2 and will not be participating in the playoffs.

Guelph is in the hunt for first overall in the league. The Gryphs have 23 points while the Central Division-leading Ryerson Rams have 21 and the East Division-leading York Lions have 19. Both the Toronto teams have two games to play.

York is ranked No. 1 in the country while the Carleton Ravens (second in the East at 5-1-2) are ranked fourth, Gryphs fifth, Ryerson sixth and McMaster Marauders (second in the Central at 6-1-1) eighth.

The Gryphs and Golden Hawks are to wrap up their regular seasons Sunday at Waterloo’s University Stadium.

“We’re unbeaten all year and we want to go unbeaten all season and the next game is one step closer to the playoffs,” Mason said. “We want to finish on a high, but we also want to give some of our boys that haven’t played so much a run out as well. With Wednesday in mind, we will make a few changes, but enough to still put us in a position to try to go and win the game.”

Game time Sunday at Waterloo is 3:15 p.m.


  • Guelph Sports Journal