Gryphs edged in a shootout in return to league play
GUELPH – While there was plenty of offense on display, defensive play was a little lacking as the Guelph Gryphons opened the 2020 portion of their OUA men’s hockey season with a 7-6 loss in a shootout to the Lakehead Thunderwolves Friday at the Gryphon Centre.
“We know that we can score and offensively we were terrific today,” said Gryphon coach Shawn Camp. “We scored lots, but we were too loose without the puck. Defensively we have to tighten up and be a lot better. But we scored and scored plenty of goals to win. Our power play was excellent, but we have to be better without the puck.”
It was the fourth time this season that the Gryphs had scored at least six goals in a game – they won the other three, 6-3 over the Ryerson Rams at home Oct. 16, 9-4 over the Nipissing Lakers at home Nov. 2 and 6-3 over the York Lions at York Nov. 16.
The Gryphs fell behind early, trailing 3-1 with just over three and a half minutes to go in the first period before the locals netted a pair of goals 59 seconds apart to tie it 3-3 before the end of the first.
The teams scored once apiece in the second and in the first half of the third before Gio Finoro’s power-play goal with 6:18 to go in regulation time gave the Gryphs their only lead of the game at 6-5. Lakehead tied it 2:03 later to force overtime.
The extra seven-minute 3-on-3 period failed to produce a winner which forced the shootout.
The teams netted a goal apiece in the mandatory three-shooter round with the third shooters on both teams – Josh Laframboise of Lakehead and Ryan Valentini of the Gryphons – getting the goals. Jordan Larson gave Lakehead the win when he scored on the first round of the sudden-victory round as Guelph’s Connor Bramwell was stopped by Lakehead goalie Nic Renyard.
The Gryphs twice got the puck into the Lakehead net during regulation time only to have the goal disallowed as the net had been dislodged from its moorings. Lakehead had a goal called back, too, due to the play being ruled offside.
Following the game Camp had a lengthy conversation with referees Chris Thornton and Ryan VanHeeswyk before he left the bench and the refs left the ice.
“The discussion was entirely about the option that it either has to be a goal or it has to be a delay-of-the-game penalty at that point of the game,” Camp said of the Gryphs’ called-back goal that came late in the third. “He’d pushed the net off a few times and that’s been the history of our league that in those situations, the call’s made. But they decided not to and we have to live with the result.”
Valentini had a pair of goals in regulation time while Bobby Dow scored in his first league game with the Gryphs. Dow joined the Gryphs after spending the 2018-19 season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the 2017-18 season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes. He totaled 36 goals, 38 assists and 69 penalty minutes in 135 games those two seasons combined.
Bramwell, Mikkel Aagaard and Finoro had the other goals for the Gryphs Friday while Justin Lemcke and Aagaard each had two assists. Single assists were recorded by Stephen Templeton, Matt Kenney, Todd Winder, Finoro, Marc Stevens, Jesse Saban and Bramwell.
Daniel Del Paggio tallied twice in regulation time for the Gryphs while Jordan King, Larson, Brendan Martin and Tomas Soustal added single goals. Kyle Auger set up three of the goals while Soustal and Josh Laframboise each had two assists and Callum Fryer, Tyler Jette, Del Paggio and King each had one.
The Gryphs outshot Lakehead 39-34 and both teams went 2-for-4 on their power plays.
Andrew Masters had 28 saves for the hosts while Renyard had 33 for Lakehead.
The Gryphs couldn’t blame their performance of rustiness as they’d played and edged the NCAA’s Rochester Institute of Technology at Rochester Sunday. That was their first game since edging the Windsor Lancers 3-2 at Windsor in OUA league play Nov. 30.
“We played very well down in Rochester. The boys worked really hard against a god skating team,” Camp said. “That was a good game for us to get under our belts before coming back into league play.
“Having played that game was very helpful for us getting our legs underneath us and get our feel for the puck.”
The Gryphs are fourth in the West Division at 9-4-3-1 while Lakehead is sixth at 8-7-2-0.
The two teams are to meet again Saturday at the Gryphon Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
“We’ll have a chance to make a few adjustments and make sure that we’re tidier defensively,” Camp said.
Thunderwolves 7 Gryphons 6 (OT)
- Guelph Sports Journal