Gryphons turn in scary third period to drop Ryerson

GUELPH – On the night before Halloween, the Ryerson Rams discovered that the Guelph Gryphons’ power play is scary good.

“Our power play has changed this year because we’ve got some younger players on the outside that are really able to get a hold of the puck,” Gryphon coach Rachel Flanagan said. “Yeah, special teams were good today.”

Just as the Rams were starting to think that they might escape the Gryphon Centre with an OUA women’s hockey league victory Wednesday night, Ryerson ran into penalty problems. The Gryphs scored three power-play goals in the third period as they erased a two-goal deficit with six goals in the final frame for a 7-3 win.

“It took us a little bit of time to get going – again,” Flanagan said. “I think sometimes we’re still figuring out who we are as a team and how good can we be. Our third period today, that really showed how good we can be and that’s the team I want to play for 60 minutes.”

The hosts had scored a power-play goal early in the third to cut the gap to a single goal at 3-2. That score remained until just less than five minutes to go in the period when Karli Shell struck for a power-play goal with two Ryerson players sitting out, both serving minor penalties for body checking.

“We definitely took advantage of that 5-on-3,” Shell said. “We knew we had to get one, we were down a goal, so we took advantage of that.”

Shell’s goal was the first of three in 1:44 that left the Rams a little shell-shocked. The Gryphs would complete the scoring with two goals in the final 1:44 – one into an empty net and the other on another power play.

While the Gryphs had taken four penalties in the second period, they didn’t take any more after that while the Rams were assessed 10 minutes in penalties in the final frame. Ryerson’s penalties also coincided with the Gryphs getting a little pep in their step.

“The last 10 minutes of the second, I thought we carried a lot of momentum,” Flanagan said. “We talked about that between periods. Having that momentum going into the third, Ryerson was looking a little bit tired and a little bit afraid of that momentum coming at them. That’s kind of what our girls went into that third period with that mindset.”

“Once we were down 3-1, we knew we had to kick it up a notch,” Shell said. “In the future we’re going to have to learn that we can’t wait until we’re behind because some teams won’t allow us to come back. In the third we had all the momentum so we knew we had the game.”

Shell finished with a pair of goals for the Gryphs while single tallies were added by Stephanie Gava (shorthanded breakaway), Lauren Ianni, Mayla Mayer, Hannah Tait and Gabriele Underwood. Avery Peer and Nicole MacKinnon each had two assists while Cyan Roepcke, Molly Crossman, Miranda Lantz, Mayer and Shell had one apiece.

Shell’s two goals and an assist lift her to the team lead in points collected with six (two goals and four assists) in five games. Wednesday’s game was her 100th regular-season match with the Gryphs and she’s now collected 21 goals and 38 assists. One of two fifth-year players on the team (Lantz is the other), Shell knows she’ll be counted on to provide leadership on a team that has nine rookies on the roster.

“Being in my fifth year, I definitely have to step up,” Shell said. “We have a lot of young girls so I’m just trying to lead by example. I’m trying to lead the way so they can get some experience.”

Brooklyn Gemmill, Karli Nummikoski and Olivia Giardetti scored once each for the Rams, Nummikoski and Giardetti hitting 13 seconds apart midway through the second period to put Ryerson ahead 3-1. Madison Lalonde had two assists while single helpers were recorded by Erika Crouse, Mariah Hinds and Nummikoski.

The Gryphs outshot the Rams 25-17 thanks to a 13-3 advantage in the third period. The hosts also went 3-for-8 on their power play and held the Rams scoreless on four power plays.

“Those guys are really hard to play against because they’re all over you,” Flanagan said. “We knew going in and it was kind of our game plan to get on them early. We just didn’t do it until the third.”

The result leaves the Gryphs at 3-2-0 in league play and Ryerson at 2-3-0.

The Gryphs are to play the Toronto Varsity Blues (4-0-0) at Toronto’s Varsity Arena Friday at 7 p.m.


Gryphons 7 Rams 3
Ryerson     1-2-0–3
Guelph       0-1-6–7
Click here for boxscore
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