By Evan Davis
After coming off their first win of the season, the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s hockey team faced a tough test in the Guelph Gryphons, losing 3-1 at the Mattamy Athletic Center (MAC) on Saturday afternoon.
Second-year goaltender Lauren Griffin played remarkably in a losing effort, stopping 28 of 31 shots and making a lot of key saves throughout the game. The defence of the Bold was sloppy at times, but Griffin’s solid play kept them within arms reach against the Gryphons, though it still wasn’t enough to secure the win. A lot of giveaways in the slot forced the Ottawa product to make some highlight reel saves in order to keep it a one-goal deficit for a majority of the game.
“[Griffin] is unreal,” said second-year forward Gaby Gareau.”[They are] honestly keeping us in these games and they are standing on their head most of the time.”
The Gryphons took control of the game from the beginning, testing Griffin early and creating a lot of offensive scoring chances. Griffin did everything they could to keep the Bold afloat, but at the 8:45 mark of the first period, it was third-year Gryphons forward Tori Verbeek who capitalized on a rebound opportunity right in front of the net.
The Bold’s defense continued to be sloppy throughout the first period, experiencing major difficulties breaking the puck out of their own end. With just 36 seconds left in the period, a turnover by the Bold would prove to be costly as fourth-year Gryphons forward Hannah Tait intercepted the puck and found third-year forward Jaime Magoffin to make it 2-0 Gryphons at the end of the first.
It was a tale of two periods as the Bold ramped up the pressure on the Gryphons, outshooting them 14-4 in the middle frame. The Bold doubled their shot total from the first period just a minute in, firing anything and everything on first-year Gryphons goaltender Sophie Helfenstein.
With the Bold continuing the pressure throughout the period, Gareau got a breakout pass from fourth-year defender Abby DeCorby and roofed the puck to get the Bold on the board six minutes into the frame. With the goal, Gareau has already passed her point total from last season in 14 less games.
“Coming into the regular season [our line] were able to figure out what worked…so that’s where the points come from,” said Gareau.
As the period progressed, the pressure was mounting on the Gryphons. However, Helfenstein was able to remain calm in net even with the Bold hounding the crease for any sort of puck luck.
With all the pressure from the Bold, the Gryphons were forced into taking some penalties, but the team continued to find struggles with the extra attacker. Through the first five games of the season, the Bold are zero-for-19 on the power play.
“I think everyone is a bit frustrated we haven’t been able to find the back of the net,” said Bold head coach Lisa Haley.
The Bold looked to carry that momentum into the third period, continuing to pepper Helfenstein with shots early on but just couldn’t find any way to solve her.
With the game entering the middle stages of the third period and the Bold on the power play, fourth-year defender Megan Breen lost the puck at the blue line leading to a breakaway for Tait, but Griffin extended their pad to keep it a one goal game. Despite Griffin’s efforts, shortly after, a wrist shot from first-year Guelph defender Reese Coffey beat traffic and gave the visitors a commanding 3-1 lead.
The Bold couldn’t get much going the rest of the way, ultimately losing and falling to 1-4 on the season. The Bold were not able to play a full 60 minutes against the very competitive Guelph Gryphons.
“The consistency factor weighed in there and we made a couple mistakes…they are a great team and it doesn’t take much, they make you pay,” said Haley.
UP NEXT: TMU head on the road for a back-to-back against the Queen’s Gaels next weekend, beginning on Nov. 4. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Centre.