Gryphons blank Windsor to secure fourth in West
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons reached another of their goals as they completed their OUA men’s hockey league regular season with a 5-0 blanking of the Windsor Lancers Saturday night at the Gryphon Centre.
“Our goal at the start of the year was to make the playoffs – make sure we got a playoff spot,” Gryphon coach Shawn Camp said. “That was No. 1 and then try to get home ice, that was second. We’re checking off the boxes here slowly, but surely.”
The win lifted the Gryphs to 13-11-4 and clinched a fourth-place finish in the West Division and home-ice advantage in the best-of-three divisional quarter-final against either Windsor or the York Lions.
With a single game in the division to go – Ryerson Rams vs. York on Sunday – the Brock Badgers lead at 19-5-4 and are followed by Ryerson (19-5-3), Western Mustangs (15-12-1), the Gryphs, Windsor and Laurier Golden Hawks (both 13-14-1), York (12-13-2), Toronto Varsity Blues (11-13-4), Lakehead Thunderwolves (12-15-1) and Waterloo Warriors (10-13-5).
Lakehead and Waterloo both miss the playoffs by a single point while Windsor wins the tie-breaker with Laurier by sweeping the four-game regular-season series between the two. Ryerson can claim first with a win over York Sunday while York can move to fifth by beating the Rams.
The win by the Gryphs was their sixth in eight games, the two losses being the shootout loss to Laurier in the Frosty Mug and a 4-1 loss to Lakehead at Thunder Bay.
“We’ve been building and gathering momentum here in the second half,” Camp said. “We’ve got some bodies back and it’s a credit to the depth of our team that in the first half when we had so many guys injured, we had so many guys playing well keeping us competitive to be in this position now.”
The victory was also the second consecutive shutout win for the Gryphs, although Andrew Masters doesn’t get solo credit for it. He was sent to the bench by the referees just as he finished repairs to his equipment midway through the second period and Gilbert Oldrieve took over for a minute and 44 seconds. Oldrieve’s OUA debut wasn’t an exciting one as he didn’t face a single shot.
Masters stopped 17 as the Gryphs recorded their second straight shutout. Both were on Gryphon Centre ice as they had blanked Toronto 3-0 Thursday night.
After losing their first seven home games of the season, the Gryphs have won five of their last six at the Gryphon Centre, the lone loss being a 4-3 setback to York in a shootout Jan. 10.
“We’re very pleased that we’ve been playing the right way while we’ve been preparing for the playoffs,” Camp said. “Our goals against has been way down, which is great. While we haven’t scored as often as we did last season, we’ve found that our goals have been more timely.”
While the Gryphs dominated the game and made the Lancers look lost in the Guelph end, the hosts still came out of the game with concerns, the main one being the number of penalties they took in the contest.
“Especially late in the game we started to take some penalties,” Camp said. “We want to make sure we don’t do that in the playoffs because power plays are so critical then.”
The Gryphs were whistled for seven penalties including the final four of the game which meant they played shorthanded for eight minutes in the third period. However, Windsor was scoreless on its six power plays while the Gryphs went 1-for-2.
Connor Bramwell led the Gryphs with two goals and an assist while Todd Winder, Ryan Valentini and Justin Lemcke each had a goal and an assist. Scott Simmonds assisted on two goals and Mikkel Aagaard and Cody Thompson each had one assist.
Jonathan Reinhart took the loss in the Windsor net as he started and allowed four goals on 29 shots in the first two periods. Paolo Battisti took over for the third and stopped all but one of the 17 shots he faced.
Whoever the Gryphs play in the divisional quarter-finals, the series is expected to start Thursday night at the Gryphon Centre.
Gryphons 5 Lancers 0
1. Guelph, Bramwell (Simmonds, Winder), 9:09
2. Guelph, Lemcke (Bramwell, Valentini), 17:23 pp
Penalties: Templeton Gue (hooking), 14:47; Tecce Wsr (interference), 16:15,
3. Guelph, Winder (unassisted), 17:10
4. Guelph, Valentini (Thompson, Aagaard), 17:43
Penalties: Fox Wsr (roughing), Aagaard Gue (roughing), 5:38; Swenson Gue (slashing), 14:04.
5. Guelph, Bramwell (Simmonds, Lemcke), 9:05
Penalties: Ruddy Wsr (hooking), 0:58; Lemcke Gue (hooking), 3:24; Simmonds Gue (roughing), 6:06; Templeton Gue (tripping), 10:48; Mi.Stevens Gue (slashing), 15:33.
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Reinhart (L, 40:00, 29 shots-25 saves), Battisti (20:00, 17 shots-16 saves), Windsor; Masters (W, 58:16, 17 shots-17 saves), Oldrieve (1:44, 0 shots), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Windsor 0-6; Guelph 1-2.
- Guelph Sports Journal