Gryphons hand Varsity Blues victory at Gryphon Centre

GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons are big on playing the right way and when they do that, they’re a force to be reckoned with in the OUA men’s hockey league.

Saturday night at the Gryphon Centre, the Gryphs certainly played the wrong way as they were hammered 8-2 by the West Division-leading Toronto Varsity Blues.

Toronto scored five times in the first period including four power-play goals with three of those coming in a span of one minute and 43 seconds.

“If you spot a good team like that, a first-place team, with as many power-play opportunities as we provided them, you can’t play catch-up hockey if you’re spotting them a 5-0 lead in the first period,” Gryphon coach Shawn Camp said. “We gave up more power-play goals today than we’ve given up all season. We have to be smart, that’s for sure.”

The Gryphs yielded five power-play goals in the game to the team whose power play operates at a higher efficiency rate than any other team in the league.

“The group might have been a bit tired, but we have no excuses. We were undisciplined and that’s the bottom line and when you’re that undisciplined, it’s going to come back to haunt you at this level.”

The performance helped lift Toronto’s power-play percentage to 36 per cent, 10 per cent more than the Gryphs who are second in that category. While the Gryphs may not have given up five power-play goals in any other league outing this season, they have yielded a league-high 25.

“Clearly we cannot compete in our division if we’re going to continue to take penalties like that,” Camp said. “We have to be a more disciplined hockey team. We’re a skilled team that skates well, but we have to get back to playing a more disciplined style that allows us to compete with a team like that.”

The Gryphs were called for 22 of the 30 penalty minutes assessed in the game with the costliest ones being a high-sticking double minor and an unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty issued to Stephen Templeton in the first period. The three quick power-play goals by Toronto came with Templeton in the box. He never received another shift after that as he had also taken an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and a 10-minute misconduct in Thursday’s loss to the Brock Badgers.

The Gryphs have been whistled for 408 penalty minutes in the season, third highest in the league behind 421 for the Carleton Ravens and 411 for the Windsor Lancers.”

“We’ve gone in bunches,” Camp said. “The last few games we’ve been a lot better. We were getting better in terms of giving up fewer power plays and being more disciplined and then tonight we just went off the rails.”

Mikkel Aagaard and Luke Kutkevicius scored the goals for the hosts while Connor Bramwell, Ryan Valentini, Gio Finoro and Ryan Da Silva each had one assist.

David Thomson had a pair of goals for Toronto while single goals were netted by Hunter Atchison, Nathan Hudgin, Evan MacEachern, Kyle Potts, Joey Manchurek and Chase Olsen. Hudgin, Ross Krieger, Brendan Bornstein and Thomson each collected two assists and MacEachern, Willy Paul, Justin Brand, Atchison, Manchurek and Kevin Lavoie each had one.

“They’re a fast team and they move the puck well,” Camp said of the Varsity Blues. “Their game is very, very simple and they play for each other very well.”

The Gryphs did turn it on a little in the third after they were down 6-0. The locals outshot Toronto 15-6 in the third, but the Varsity Blues held a 33-29 advantage in the game.

Starter Brendan Cregan took the loss in net for the Gryphs. He allowed four goals on nine shots in the first 13:44 of the game before giving way to Andrew Masters who had 20 saves the rest of the way.

Winning goalie Alex Bishop of the Varsity Blues had 27 saves.

The Gryphs are third in the West Division with 27 points. Toronto leads with 35 while the Ryerson Rams have 30. Windsor is at 26 and Brock 25.

The Gryphs are to play at Brock Thursday and at Waterloo Friday.

Next home game for the Gryphs is their annual Frosty Mug match against the Laurier Golden Hawks Jan. 23 at the Sleeman Centre.

 

Varsity Blues 8 Gryphons 2
Toronto     5-1-2–8
Guelph     0-0-2–2
 
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