By Michael Mazzei
Powered by an offensive barrage from Cody Thompson and Todd Winder, the Guelph Gryphons defeated the Ryerson Rams 6-2 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Friday night in a scrappy affair. Despite the playoff-like atmosphere in the arena, things didn’t go the Rams’ way all game long.
With the playoffs fast approaching, the Rams were presented with a chance to grab some momentum to end the season against the Gryphons, the top team in the OUA West. Needless to say, the Rams will need to come up with a different strategy before the postseason starts.
“When you spot a team a 2-0 lead in the first minute and a half of a game, you seem to chase the game for the remainder of it,” Ryerson head coach Johnny Duco said. “We had some good chances in the first two periods and early in the third, but they capitalized on theirs and we didn’t.”
Just 38 seconds into the game, the Gryphons silenced the Ryerson crowd when Thompson converted on a two-on-one rush to give Guelph an early lead. Just over a minute later, Thompson struck again, and suddenly, the Rams were down 2-0 as goalie Taylor Dupuis allowed two goals on just three shots.
Ryerson made up for their sloppy play in the early stages of the first, when John Carpino banged in his 11th goal of the year off the rebound of an Austin Clapham slapshot to make it 2-1. Later in the period, Ryerson rookie Cavin Leth wristed his 12th goal of the season past Guelph goalie Andrew Masters.
The game was physical, and the Gryphons got into penalty trouble, but it didn’t affect them much; the Rams had six power plays during the game, but failed to convert on any.
“We’re all good players and we have a lot of confidence in our power play,” Carpino said. “We just need to make sure we’re putting pucks on net and moving the puck around and hopefully tomorrow night it will work.”
Guelph retook the lead in the third on a power play goal through Dupuis’ five-hole, and from there, the floodgates were open.
A few minutes later, the Gryphons struck once again as Trevor Morbeck banked in the rebound to give Guelph a 4-2 lead. Forty-seven seconds later, the Rams turned the puck over and Winder made them pay for by firing it from the high slot for his second of the game to extend Guelph’s lead to three goals.
During the Rams sixth power play of the game, Guelph’s Scott Simmonds scored a short-handed penalty shot to give Guelph a 6-2 lead. With that, Dupuis’ night was over, and backup netminder Brodie Barrick closed out the loss.
“[Dupuis] has been the backbone of our team all year and we wouldn’t be where we are at right now without him,” Duco said. “Every time he’s had a game where he lets in a few [goals], he usually bounces back so we have a lot of confidence in him.”
With only one game remaining in the regular season, the Rams will get a preview of a potential first round match-up when the Brock Badgers come to town.
“We need to come off the bat by playing a little harder early,” Barrick said. “We’ve kinda gotten into a little bit of a spell lately where we spot our opponent some goals.”
“If we come off fresh and off to a good start, we should be alright.”
UP NEXT: The Rams close out the regular season by taking on the Brock Badgers on Feb. 10. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.