Gryphons come from behind to force game three

(Photo courtesy of Chad Leitch)

(Photo courtesy of Chad Leitch)

They were just “standing around.”

The fifth-seeded Wilfrid Laurier men’s hockey team came into game two of their best-of-three Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West quarterfinal against the Guelph Gryphons with a win in their hands and a chance to close out the series.

But as head coach Greg Puhalski said, his team was just standing around.

Despite jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, the Hawks allowed the Gryphons to climb back and tie it before the end of the first period.

Unable to generate anything more throughout the game and allowing a plethora of opportunities for Guelph, fourth-year J.T. MacDonald was able to put the game away with just over a minute left in the third for a 3-2 victory for the Gryphons.

“I thought Guelph just played better than us. Each period they were able to generate more offence,” Puhalski said following the game. “We were outshot badly tonight and I think it’s a true indication of who the deserving victor was tonight. It was Guelph.”

Guelph’s offence began merely seconds into the match and didn’t end until the final horn sounded to end the game. They threw 41 shots at fourth-year netminder Ryan Daniels, while the Hawks only produced 25 of their own on Guelph netminder Andrew Loverock.

The Hawks’ two early goals seemed to be exactly what they needed to escape their offensive struggles. First, Mitchell Good scored on the powerplay with a shot that rang off the inside of the post, then Greg Cerilli put a smooth shot past  Loverock.

But minutes later, the game was tied.

Laurier was also blessed with a four-minute powerplay in the third period — the perfect opportunity for the Hawks to get the go-ahead goal.

But again, no offence could be mustered.

“It’s a learning process and we just didn’t take advantage of it,” Puhalski said of his team’s powerplay. “It kind of lends itself to the way the game was played. We didn’t get ourselves into any type of rhythm or create any type of forecheck.”

With the win, the Gryphons tie the series at one game apiece to send it back to Guelph Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. The winner will face the Windsor Lancers in the next round.

Puhalski’s focus now is to “rectify today’s game.” The Hawks will look to fix the offensive lapse and close out the series.

“Guelph’s a good hockey club,” Puhalski said. “They were full deserving of tonight’s win. I thought we were deserving of game one. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, I just know we need a better effort.

“If we have a better effort, then we’ll have a better outcome.”

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