Gryphons drop another home game to Ryerson
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – Oh those Ryerson Rams.
The Guelph Gryphons continued to struggle with Ryerson at the Gryphon Centre arena Thursday night as they were edged 4-3 in their OUA men’s hockey season opener.
“There are a lot of lessons to be learned early in the season,” Gryphon coach Shawn Camp said. “We’re a good team when we play north hockey, go north-south. When we’re east-west, we’re not as efficient. It’s early in the year and we have to be simpler. When we’re simple, then our skill comes out.”
“We got the jitters out early and we were playing some pretty good hockey, but we gave up some goals that ended up doing us in in the end,” Gryphon forward Cody Thompson said. “We’ve got room to grow.”
The Gryphs haven’t posted a win over Ryerson on home ice for more than a decade as their last victory over the Rams at the Gryphon Centre was a 10-2 thrashing Jan. 31, 2008. Since then they’ve lost six in a row to the Rams in Guelph. The two teams didn’t meet at the Gryphon Centre five consecutive years from the 2008-09 season through the 2012-13 season.
“They’re a very, very offensive team,” Camp said of the Rams. “They are so explosive and they’re so skilled that if you make mistakes against them, they’ll bury them, they’ll bury you.”
“We had a couple of shots to take a lead early, but unfortunately it came back to bite us,” Thompson said. “The shots were fairly even in the end, but we gave up some good scoring chances that they capitalized on.”
Thursday, Cody Thompson opened the scoring for the Gryphs on a power play midway through the first period while Ryerson tied it late in the second period with that period’s only goal.
The Rams hit for three in a row to shoot ahead in the third, but the Gryphs launched a late comeback attempt that resulted in two goals being scored in the final two minutes of the game.
“We battled back so hard, but we just ran out of time,” Camp said.
Thompson, Todd Winder and Scott Simmonds each had a goal and an assist for the hosts while Connor Bramwell and Seth Swenson each collected an assist.
“We had some really good efforts tonight, too,” Camp said. Sometimes the effort gets lost in the result, but we had real good effort tonight. We have to play a little smarter and a little simpler and we’ll be fine.”
Vince Figliomeni, Mathew Santos, Marcus Hinds and Matt Mistele scored the goals for Ryerson while Alex Basso had two assists and Steven Harland, Mistele, Taylor Dupuis and Jesse Barwell each had an assist.
The Gryphs outshot Ryerson 36-35 and went 1-for-4 on the power play while Ryerson was held scoreless on its lone power play.
“There wasn’t that much positive out of that game,” Thompson said. “Our goalie played great and we showed glimpses at times that we can dominate that team and they’re a top team in this league, but the negatives outweigh the positives.”
Dupuis made 33 saves in the Ryerson net for the win while Evan Cormier made 31 saves for Guelph.
“We have balanced lines and they can all play,” Camp said. “Our D move the puck for us very well and we’re overall really pleased with how hard we worked, but our execution will have to be a little bit better.”
For the Gryphs, the opener followed a preseason of six games that saw the locals go 2-4-0.
“It’s early, but that’s no excuse,” Thompson said. “I myself had a pretty bad exhibition season. We had six games to get the rust off and get going here. All the points count now and it’s a tough league. There’s really no excuse. We’re going to have all the lines going Saturday against York and we’ll get the legs going,” Thompson said. “Hopefully we’ll win that game and finish the weekend .500.”
The Gryphs are to play the York Lions (1-0-0-0) at York Saturday at 7 p.m.