Gryphons fall as Laurier gets its first Frosty Mug win

GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons scoring woes came back to bite them Thursday night in their annual Frosty Mug game at the Sleeman Centre.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle to score,” Gryphon coach Shawn Camp said. “We work hard to create our chances. We have to earn what we get.”

The Gryphs couldn’t get the goals they needed as they wound up dropping a 3-2 decision to the Laurier Golden Hawks in the OUA men’s hockey match.

“It was disappointing in that we gave them a head start and that we had to play catch-up,” Camp said. “We finished the game the right way. We were jumping on them. We were creating chances and we got lots of puck to the net. It was just what we needed to be doing the whole game, but we played catch-up and did a good job to get it to overtime.”

The hosts had almost everything they needed except goals as goaltender Andrew Masters was solid and they had the backing of the game’s usual boisterous crowd. This time there were 4,850 of them and, also as usual, that was a record crowd for the game. But the Gryphs just couldn’t get ahead in the 10th edition of the match.

“Andrew Masters was outstanding,” Camp said. “He’s been outstanding since Cormier left for the pros. He’s giving us a chance to win every night and that’s all we can ask from him. He’s been super.”

“Ultimately, that is one that we do want to win for our fans,” Masters said. “A lot of people, they do make a big effort to support us, all 5,000 strong, so ultimately we would have liked the second point, but the boys did a great job, especially in the third, making sure I didn’t see too much rubber.”

That crowd was cheering wildly for Masters after he kept the Gryphs in it early with a trio of big saves on pointblank chances by the Golden Hawks in the opening 10 minutes of the match.

“It’s good to get into a game,” Masters said of his early saves. “Any way you can get into a game, especially in an atmosphere like that, obviously your adrenaline is jacked up more than normal and to be able to make a couple of good saves, calm down, get into the game and get back to playing your own game the way you would on a normal Saturday at the Gryphon Centre, that’s a real calming thing.”

Laurier shot ahead with a goal with 40 seconds to go in the first period and the Golden Hawks added another one early in the second. The Gryphs cut the gap late in the second and then forced overtime when they scored with 3:12 to go in regulation time.

“We had a good third period against Western last game so I think that just shows we’re pretty well conditioned,” Masters said. “Going forward, that’s something that’s good for us.”

A five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime period decided nothing so the teams went into overtime and for the fourth time in their four games that required a shootout this season, the Gryphs came out on the short end.

“We haven’t solved the shootout deal yet this season,” Camp said.

Anthony Sorrentino, Laurier’s second shooter, was the only players to score in the shootout.

Nick Boyer and Michael Stevens scored the goals for the Gryphs while Mark Raycroft assisted on both of them.

Jake Henderson and Jeremy Pullara had the regulation-time goals for Laurier and assists were awarded to Graeme MacLean, Danny Hanlon and Mack Graham.

The Gryphs outshot Laurier 35-27 including a 7-3 advantage in overtime. Neither team scored on its power play, the Gryphs having five power plays and Laurier two.

Before Todd Winder, Guelph’s first shooter in the shootout, took his shot, Masters skated out and had a word with him.

“I told him the ice was junk and he normally likes to dipsy-doodle,” Masters said. “I told him just to try a shot that the ice was going to mess him up if he tried to dangle. He tried and his stick just gave out. That just happens.”

While Masters was charged with the shootout loss, Tyler Fassl collected the win for Laurier.

Not only was it the first time in its 10-year history that the Frosty Mug went to a shootout, it was the first time it needed overtime.

It was also the third consecutive year and fifth time overall that Laurier provided the opposition and the first time the Golden Hawks came away with a win.

The Gryphs are now 6-3-1 in the Frosty Mug and 7-3-1 in games at the Sleeman Centre as they had a win the year before the game was given a name.

Masters has become Guelph’s No. 1 goaltender after Cormier left for the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Devils during the Christmas and exam break. Masters started 17 games last season when he was a Gryphon rookie and he posted a 13-5-0 record with 2.85 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. This season he’s started 10 games including the last seven in a row. He’s at 3-7-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Of his 17 starts last season, 11 came in the 12 regular-season games the Gryphs had in 2018 portion of the season.

“In juniors in playoffs, I was playing four or five times every two weeks,” Masters said. “We have a great strength coach and the coach is great with letting us recover.”

Thursday’s result allowed Laurier to break the tie that existed between the teams in the West Division standings. The Golden Hawks get sole possession of fifth in the division at 11-11-1 while the Gryphs are sixth at 9-10-4.

The Gryphs are to host the Waterloo Warriors, tied for seventh in the division at 8-10-5, Saturday at the Gryphon Centre at 7:30 p.m.

Including Saturday’s game, the Gryphs have five games to go in their regular season.

All 10 teams in the division remain in the hunt to qualify for the playoffs. Every game is important as four points separate fourth from 10th. The Gryphs are two points from both a tie for fourth and a tie for ninth.

“We have to keep playing the way we did in the third period and keep playing the way we did against Western,” Masters said. “At the end of the day, the math is going to work itself out. If we just focus on our game and keep playing hockey, good things will come.”

 

Golden Hawks 3 Gryphons 2 (SO)
Guelph     0-1-1-0–2
Laurier     1-1-0-1–3
First Period
1. Laurier, Henderson (MacLean, Hanlon), 19:20
Penalties: Lemcke Gue (hooking), 3:15; Mroczkowski WLU (hooking), 12:05; Bench WLU (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:20.
Second Period
2. Laurier, Pullara (Graham), 4:07
3. Guelph, Boyer (Raycroft), 14:36
Penalties: Black WLU (roughing), Ma.Stevens Gue (roughing), O’Connor Gue (cross checking), 8:31; Silveri WLU (cross checking), 12:24.
Third Period
4. Guelph, Mi.Stevens (Raycroft), 16:48
Penalties: Hanlon WLU (high sticking double minor), 9:51.
Overtime
No scoring
Penalties: none.
Shootout
Laurier: Mroczkowski N, Sorrentino G, Conti N
Guelph: Winder N, Valentini N, Bramwell N
Shots on Goal
Laurier       13-7-4-3–27
Guelph     10-10-8-7–35
Goalies: Fassl (W, 35 shots-33 saves), Laurier; Masters (L, 26 shots-24 saves), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Laurier 0-2; Guelph 0-5.

 

  • Guelph Sports Journal