Gryphons tighten up to double Thunderwolves
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons knew they had to tidy up their defensive play following Friday’s shootout loss to the Lakehead Thunderwolves and they accomplished that in Saturday night’s OUA men’s hockey rematch at the Gryphon Centre.
“We talked about this last night as a group that we can score and we’ll score timely goals, but we had to tighten up defensively,” said Gryphon head coach Shawn Camp. “To everyone’s credit, we did that tonight. The guys had a much better game defensively, gave up less and got the result we needed.”
The Gryphs struck for three goals in the third period to rally for a 4-2 victory over the Thunderwolves.
“Last night we let in seven, including the shootout, and we knew heading in that we can’t be doing that every game, especially with the playoffs coming up here in the second half,” Gryphon forward Connor Bramwell said. We definitely knew that we had to tighten things up defensively.”
The match was also the second half of the Gryphs’ fourth and final back-to-back series against the same team this season. The first two were preseason matches against the Brock Badgers (two wins for the Gryphs) and Lakehead (two wins for the Gryphs) while the other one was a pair of regular-season games in November against Brock (a loss in overtime and a win, same as this week).
“With the back-to-back, tensions can get a little higher,” Bramwell said. “You played the night before and they beat us last night so we were coming in really wanting to win tonight to close out the weekend.”
All six goals Saturday were scored into the net at the north end of the arena as Guelph scored once in the first period and Lakehead tallied twice in the second.
Bramwell connected for a goal and two assists for the Gryphs while Marc Stevens, Ryan Valentini and Todd Winder each scored single goals. Jesse Saban had two assists while Zach McFadden and Valentini had one each.
Daniel Del Paggio and Tomas Soustal scored the goals for Lakehead while assists went to Taylor Egan, Jordan King and Del Paggio.
Brendan Cregan had 24 saves to get the win in net for the Gryphs in his first home-ice start while Nic Renyard had 26 saves in the Lakehead net.
“Andrew (Masters), he kept us in last night for the long haul and Brendan came in tonight and just shut the door,” Camp said. “He played very, very well – a good effort. He’s played very well his last four games that he’s had a chance to play.”
The Gryphs are fourth in the West Division standings at 10-4-3-1 while Lakehead is sixth at 8-8-2-0.
The Gryphs are to host the Queen’s Gaels (7-9-0-1) Wednesday at the Gryphon Centre in their first meeting since the Gaels defeated the Gryphs 4-1 in Kingston last March in the OUA championship Queen’s Cup final.
“Everyone has long memories,” Camp said. “There can’t be a bigger game on our schedule than playing Queen’s this week. It’s a huge game. A rematch of last year’s Queen’s Cup and we have some unfinished business as a group to take care of.”
“Definitely hearing them as the defending champs leaves a bit of a sour taste in our mouths,” Bramwell said. “We definitely want to get back at them Wednesday and send a message for the season.”
The Gryphs have 10 players on this year’s roster who played in last year’s OUA final while Queen’s has 13 including Guelph native Patrick Sanvido.
Game time Wednesday is 7:30 p.m.
That game is the first of three for the Gryphs this week as they’re to play Brock (fifth in the West at 10-8-1-0) at St. Catharines Thursday night and host the division-leading Toronto Varsity Blues (16-2-0-0) Saturday night.
Gryphons 4 Thunderwolves 2
- Guelph Sports Journal