Women’s hockey drops first game to Gryphons 2-1


File Photo by Jessica Dik
File Photo by Jessica Dik

The Wilfrid Laurier women’s hockey team lost a close decision to the No. 1 Guelph Gryphons in game one of the Ontario University Athletics semifinals 2-1. The Hawks trail the Gryphons 1-0 in the best-of-three series.

This is also the first time during the playoffs that the Hawks incurred a loss in regulation.

Laurier came out of the gate with a ton of energy, setting the tone of the game early. In what became a defensive battle between the two teams, the Hawks tested Gryphon netminder Valerie Lamenta early, giving her some action. The first period ended with Laurier having the shot advantage 5-4.

The Hawks struck first in the second period with a shot by Erika Kiviaho that went top corner blocker side and beat Lamenta. The Gryphons answered back a minute later when Guelph’s Christine Grant finished a pass from Jessica Pinkerton to keep the game knotted at one.

Guelph took the lead in the third period with a goal by Mackenzie Wong just over three minutes into the final frame. The Hawks made one final push, but could not solve Lamenta.

Third-year netminder Amanda Smith took the loss, stopping 22 of the 24 shots faced. Lamenta finished with 16 saves.

One of the biggest takeaways from the game was the amount of shots the Hawks blocked. During both Gryphon powerplays, Laurier came to the aid of Smith to stymie the potent Gryphon offence, keeping the contest close. The Hawks kept this defensive-minded play throughout the game, limiting the Gryphons shots as much as they could.

Laurier now prepares to host game two in Waterloo in a do or die situation. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. at Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

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