SUDBURY, Ont. (Guelph Gryphons) – Bouncing back from adversity is the sign of a resilient group. The Guelph Gryphons women’s hockey team showed that characteristic Saturday afternoon.
The No.7-ranked Gryphons responded to their worst performance of the OUA season with an impressive 3-0 shutout win over the Laurentian Voyageurs at Sudbury’s Countryside Arena.
Guelph experienced a low point after giving up a season-high six goals in a loss to Nipissing Friday. But the two-time defending OUA champions came right back with a disciplined game, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, while also showing the necessary grit to limit Laurentian’s scoring opportunities.
“We really got back to basics and focused on an overall team effort,” said head coach Rachel Flanagan. “All four lines and three D pairings were good today.”
Emma Forcey, Karli Shell and Kelly Gribbons scored for Guelph (17-6-0), which moved back into second place in the OUA standings ahead of Western and behind only Queen’s.
Valerie Lamenta stopped all 26 shots she faced for her 11th win and fifth shutout of the season. The Montreal-native wasn’t tested too often but she produced some key saves in the second period, one with a quick glove and another stop on a hard one-timer from the slot on a Voyageurs’ power play to keep the Gryphons up by two goals. It was an excellent effort after a disappointing outing against Nipissing.
“Val and I watched the chances against from yesterday and she wasn’t happy with her game,” said Flanagan. “But as a veteran goalie, she gets the opportunity to work through it. And she did that today.”
The Gryphons apparently learned a lesson from Friday’s loss and came out noticeably energized. Forcey got things started with a tip-in past Laurentian goaltender Karen Collins at the 5:47 mark of the first period, a goal that proved to be the game-winner. Guelph doubled the lead midway through the period after Shell got to the net and slid the puck under the Voyageurs’ goalie.
The Gryphons worked hard throughout the second period and were rewarded in the third. Captain Kaitlin Lowy sent a pass to the front of the net that Gribbons skillfully redirected through Collins’s five-hole for the 3-0 goal that locked up the game.
Guelph wraps up the OUA regular season against the Ryerson Rams in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 17. Game time is 2 p.m.