Gryphons drop Gaels to avenge last season’s Queen’s Cup setback
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons got a little revenge of sorts Wednesday night in OUA men’s hockey play at the Gryphon Centre.
The Gryphs dumped the Queen’s Gaels 8-2 to avenge last season’s Queen’s Cup championship-game loss to the Gaels at Kingston.
“We’re playing the right way and when we do that, we give ourselves a chance to create offensively,” Gryphon head coach Shawn Camp. “We were able to cash in on some opportunities tonight. It was a rematch of the Queen’s Cup and for the new guys they’re learning what this level’s all about. That’s the team to beat, our conference’s defending champs. It was a good win tonight.”
Guelph native Gio Finoro led the Gryphon scoring with a hat trick Wednesday. While he’s a first-year Gryphon, the veterans made sure he and all the other rookies knew the importance of the game to them.
“They emphasized it a lot,” Finoro said. “There’s still animosity toward this team because of being in the Queen’s Cup with them last year. They expressed that very heavily and to win this big and taking back that win, getting a redemption – that’s what the team called it — was very good.”
Finoro felt that every Gryph suited up for the game contributed to the win.
“Honestly, everybody in the lineup, top to bottom all the way to the goalie, we played the way we should,” he said. “We stuck to the game plan, stuck to the structure and we got rewarded for it.”
As for his own game, Finoro made sure linemates Luke Kutkevicius and Matt Kenney could see him, or at least his stick, whenever the line had a scoring chance.
“It’s just being more aware,” he said. “I’m playing with such good guys that at any moment they could get the puck to you so it’s always having my stick open and always looking for open ice to get a nice pass or a nice rebound. I focused extra hard on that and it helped me out.”
Before the Gryphs get too wrapped up in the win, though, they’ll look back to last season when they beat Queen’s 7-1 at Kingston during the regular season, but lost the OUA final there 4-1 four and a half months later.
Goaltender Brendan Cregan picked up the win in his second consecutive start at home. He had 28 saves and had a shutout going until the Gaels scored twice in the third period.
“He made timely saves and made sure he was simple and was big when we needed him,” Camp said. “It gave us a chance to create some chances off of transitions, too.”
Guelph had led 2-0 at the end of the first period and 5-0 after the second.
While Finoro had his hat trick, Ryan Valentini scored twice and Connor Bramwell, Kenney and Mikkel Aagaard added single goals. Ryan Da Silva and Justin Lemcke each had three assists while Kutkevicius had two and Jesse Saban, Bramwell, Kenney and Cole Cameron each had one.
Alex Row and Graeme Brown scored for the Gaels while Mason Kohn and Guelph native Patrick Sanvido each had an assist.
The Gryphs outshot Queen’s 37-30 and went 3-for-5 on their power play while the Gaels were scoreless on five power plays.
Luke Richardson took the loss for Queen’s. He was replaced in the third period by Alexander Horawski after Guelph’s seventh goal. Richardson had 21 saves and Horawski had eight.
The Gryphs are fourth in the West Division at 11-4-3-1 while Queen’s is tied for seventh in the East at 7-10-0-1.
The game was the start of a busy week for the Gryphs as it was their first of three games in four days. They’re to play the Brock Badgers (fifth in the West at 10-8-1-0) at St. Catharines Thursday at 7:15 p.m. and host the West Division-leading Toronto Varsity Blues (16-2-0-0) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Gryphon Centre.
“We’re right back at it tomorrow night at Brock,” Camp said. “They’re such a hard team to play because they’re so hard on the puck. They’re physical and they grind you down so we have to be ready tomorrow for another battle like this tonight.”
For the players, it also means keeping up with their schoolwork as well as getting ready for the game.
“It’s just time management and keeping everything on track,” Finoro said. “If you can keep your school in order, knowing everything you need to do and when to get it done by, just preparing for the game is the easy part.
“Having one semester under my belt, I’m starting to learn what works for me and what I need to do to keep on top of my school and stuff.”
Gryphons 8 Gaels 2
- Guelph Sports Journal