Gryphon Winder continues to shine against Windsor
GUELPH – There’s just something about the Windsor Lancers, especially in the playoffs, that brings the best out of Guelph Gryphons forward Todd Winder’s scoring touch.
Winder recorded a hat trick Thursday night, including the winner in overtime that he poked into the net as the puck sat in the Windsor crease, as the Gryphs slipped by the Lancers 5-4 in the opening game of their best-of-three OUA men’s hockey league West Division quarter-final playoff series at the Gryphon Centre.
“I just saw the puck and I dove at it and I was hoping I’d hit it,” Winder said of the winning goal. “I probably should’ve scored before that, but it’s all right.”
The second-year Gryphon has thrived against the Lancers during the playoffs. Last season when he was the division’s rookie of the year, he had five goals and an assist in the three-game divisional quarter-final series win over the Lancers that included two two-goal outings. That came after he had a single assist against Windsor in the regular season and had scored a goal against the Lancers in the preseason Ridgetown Classic.
“He’s a money guy,” Gryphon coach Shawn Camp said. “He’s so good. He’s been so good for us since he’s been here for us, but he’s just taken it to another level in the playoffs or the start of the playoffs for us.”
This season Winder had an assist in the Ridgetown Classic and a goal and an assist against Windsor in the regular season.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said of his success against the Lancers. “I guess I like playing them. We’ll see what happens Saturday.”
The Gryphs and Lancers sure seem to meet a lot in the playoffs, especially recently. They played in the divisional quarter-finals last season (2-1 win for Guelph) and in 2015-16 (2-1 win for Guelph), the divisional final in the Gryphons’ Queen’s Cup season of 2014-15 (2-0 win for Guelph) and division semifinals in 2012-13 (2-0 win for Windsor).
“It seems like we play Windsor more often than we care to,” Camp said. “It’s just the way it falls.”
Thursday, the Gryphs rallied from a 2-0 deficit at the end of the first period to pull even at 3-3 in the second. However, they needed a goal by Reilly O’Connor with 1:40 to go in regulation time to tie it 4-4 and force the extra time.
“It wasn’t our best effort tonight, but we pulled it out and that’s all we can ask for,” Winder said.
Winder’s OT winner came exactly nine minutes into extra play.
“The first game in a series is so critical,” Camp said. “We know it’s going to be harder Saturday in Windsor so we absolutely had to win this game.”
“It sets the tone for the whole series,” Winder said of the opening game. “It’s a quick series so you’ve got to come out flying. We came out a little flat and they came out flying so it’s important. We’ve got to come out the next game and really come out flying.”
Marc Stevens scored Guelph’s other goal on a power play midway through the second period. Connor Bramwell, Scott Simmonds and Mikkel Aagard each had two assists for the Gryphs while Winder, O’Connor and Mark Raycroft had one apiece.
Kyle Hope hit for two goals for Windsor while Connor Logan and John Wesley scored the others. Ethan Skinner had two assists and Ben Assad, Logan and Alex Friesen had one each.
The Gryphs outshot Windsor 43-35 and went 1-for-4 on their power play. They also held Windsor scoreless on three power plays.
Andrew Masters was the winning netminder in the Guelph net while Jonathan Reinhart took the loss in the Windsor net.
Reinhart has to have bad memories from last season’s divisional quarter-final series with the Gryphs. Thursday’s day game was day shy of a year since Reinhart was struck in the face with a slap shot after losing his helmet just as the shot was being taken. He missed the rest of the series.
Despite the win the Gryphs leave the game knowing there are things they need to work on to continue their playoff success.
“That’s the most goals we’ve given up in a month,” Camp said. “For us, we have to be better defensively. We gave up too many chances tonight, especially early, and as a result we were chasing the game for part of the night. But our guys have tremendous character and great leadership and we just kept battling back and battling back until we finally got it done in OT.”
Game 2 in this year’s series is slated for Saturday at the Windsor Arena. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
If Windsor wins that game, the third game is to be played Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Gryphon Centre.
Gryphons 5 Lancers 4
1. Windsor, Logan (Assad), 3:33
2. Windsor, Hope (Logan), 8:00
Penalties: Templeton Gue (roughing after the whistle), Friesen Wsr (roughing after the whistle), 10:21; Logan Wsr (slashing), 10:52; Ma.Stevens Gue (roughing), Prevost Wsr (double roughing), 16:55; Reinhart Wsr (delay of game), 17:58; Simmonds Gue (interference), 19:57.
3. Guelph, Winder (Bramwell, Simmonds), 6:32
4. Windsor, Wesley (Skinner, Friesen), 9:18
5. Guelph, Ma.Stevens (Aagaard, Simmonds), 10:17 pp
6. Guelph, Winder (Bramwell), 11:19
Penalties: Tecce Wsr (tripping), 9:26; Winder Gue (slashing), 16:44.
7. Windsor, Hope (Skinner), 1:14
8. Guelph, O’Connor (Winder, Aagaard), 18:20
Penalty: Simmonds Gue (tripping), 8:45.
9. Guelph, Winder (O’Connor, Raycroft), 9:00
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Reinhart (L, 43 shots-38 saves), Windsor; Masters (W, 35 shots-31 saves), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Windsor 0-3; Guelph 1-4.
- Guelph Sports Journal