Playoff run cut short in 2-0 Lancer series sweep of the Gryphons
The men’s hockey team’s season has come to an abrupt end following a 1-0 loss to the Windsor Lancers on Feb. 23. The loss comes after an impressive and hard-fought series between Guelph and Laurier in the quarterfinal series.
Guelph got off to a rough start in the 2013 playoffs at home, dropping the first game of the Laurier series in overtime in a 4-3 loss. Guelph was able to change their fortunes quickly though, posting a 3-2 victory in the Feb. 16 matchup in Laurier. The win forced a series-decided game three, and the teams entered a final overtime period tied at 2-2. Gryphon forward Justin Gvora was the hero in front of the hometown crowd, as he netted the game winner 5:50 into overtime. Andrew Bathgate and Matt Lyall chipped in with assists on the goal.
The OUA West semifinal series with Windsor would prove to be a drastically different affair.
Game one of the series took place in Windsor on Feb. 21, where a disciplined Lancer team scored twice on the powerplay and allowed only one goal on 30 shots. Scoring was finished by midway through the second, and neither team would alter the 2-1 final score by the end of regulation.
Game two returned the series to Guelph on Feb. 23, where the Gryphons looked to equalize the series at one game apiece.
The Gryphons came out firing on all cylinders, outshooting the Lancers 16-9 in the first period. The tables turned in the second period, as the Lancers returned the favour by outshooting the Gryphons 15-6. At 16:01 of the second period, Windsor netted a powerplay goal on Gryphon goaltender Andrew Loverock, who had an otherwise phenomenal night, stopping 30 of 31 shots. The goal would prove too much for the Gryphons to overcome, as Windsor goaltender Parker Van Buskirk posted a shutout when his team needed it the most, stopping all 30 of Guelph’s shots.
The loss was the last game for Gryphon Ed Gale, the graduating captain of the Guelph squad.
It simply wasn’t meant to be for the Gryphons offense this postseason, as they struggled to match the strong defensive performance by Loverock. In five games, Loverock posted a 2.06 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. In those same five games Guelph only mustered 10 offensive goals as they struggled to find the rhythm that made the Gryphons a potent offensive attack during the regular season.
The Gryphon season concludes as one of the best in the last six years. The team’s 17-9-2 record in the regular season was the highest win total for the Gryphons in the last six seasons, and with young offensive firepower waiting in the wings for next season, the Gryphons have only scraped the surface of their potential.