U Sports MHKY: Guelph lose their man, Ryerson sweeps and Toronto stumbles

The Upset:

Toronto lose in Game 2 to Western

We start off with one of the day’s more shocking results. The first seed Toronto Varsity Blues, who were expected to make a quick job of the Western Mustangs fell 3-1 in London, ON.

It was a fast and hard-fought affair from both sides, but the elimination threat helped push the Mustangs to the victory.

Although at even strength both teams were well matched, it was special teams where the difference was made. A mid-first-period penalty from the Varsity Blues put the Mustangs on the power play, where Sean Montgomery scored their first of their two powerplay goals.

(Varsity Blues Athletics)

The Mustangs had four penalties in the game and capitalized on two of them, however, their penalty kill was more important. Toronto had six chances to score with a man-up but failed to get a single power-play goal. It was a perfect six penalty kills for the Mustangs, who were confident throughout the game.

Toronto’s only goal came in the final minute of play, as Evan MacEachern cancelled the Mustang’s shutout hopes.

Western’s win evens up the series at a game apiece, as both teams will travel overnight back to Toronto for a final and decisive third game. Puck drop for that game is set for 7:00 on Sunday evening.

Auf Wiedersehen Mikkel!

Guelph win, Aagaard departs

You probably did not understand that, but it is german for “Goodbye Mikkel!” which is what the Guelph Gryphons had to do on Saturday night when they ere informed that their star players and OUA leading scorer Mikkel Aagaard had signed with Grizzlies Wolfsburg in the German pro league.

The Gryphons, who were without Aagaard on Saturday did manage to win in convincing fashion, putting up half a dozen goals in a 6-3 win over the Laurier Golden Hawks. With their backs against the wall, the Guelph Gryphons had no option other than to find victory in Waterloo.

Image result for mikell aagrd guelph
(U Sports Canada)

Although a 6-3 scoreline can appear as a blowout, much of the game was back and forth. The first period especially was like ping pong- Guelph scored, then Laurier, then Guelph again. After 20 minutes of play, the Gryphons held a one-goal lead. The second period saw the trend break, as Gryphons forward Connor Bramwell scored the first consecutive goals of the game.

It continued to go back and forth, that is until the Gryphons scored three unanswered to put the game away in the third period. They won this game without their superstar, but there is a question as to whether they can do it again. Despite having a deep roster, losing a leading scorer is never an easy blow. It will be tough for the Gryphons to find success without him, but Saturday night did show that it is possible. However, we will have to wait to see how the Gryphons approach Sunday’s winner take all game without their main man in Aagard.

Puck drop at the Gryphons Centre is set for 7:30 PM, with a free stream available on OUA.TV and post-game coverage on 49-sport.com

Rams break out the brooms

Ryerson knocks out Lakehead in Game 2

They cut it close, but the Ryerson Rams have clinched their spot in the second round of the playoffs, after winning 2-1 overtime, knocking out the Lakehead Thunderwolves.

The Thunderwolves spent the first period putting on an exquisite example of what it means to be an underdog in an elimination game. They kept the game neck and neck with the Rams, taking a scoreless game into the first intermission.

Garret Forrest backstopped the Ryerson Rams to the second round of the playoffs (Benjamin Steiner/49 Sport)

Despite the hard checking game from the visitors, the Rams finally were able to penetrate their defence, as Jesse Barwell potted Ryerson’s first goal just 17 seconds into the middle period.

After Barwell’s tally, the game only became more tight checking. The Thunderwolves weren’t letting anything get to them, neither were the Rams.

It took until the last five minutes of the third period for the Thunderwolves to score, as Jordan Larson tied the game up, sending it to the fourth period.

The Rams had last one in extra time in a shootout in Windsor but had also found victory in overtime against the University of Toronto, with both those wins coming recently. However, Saturday was playoffs; a different beast.

Ryerson won the game 11 minutes into the extra period, but it wasn’t exactly a highlight-reel goal that they did it with. Zach Shankar, who had scored the overtime winner against Toronto in January drew a trio of defenders to him, before sliding it innocently on Lakehead Netminder Brock Aiken. Aiken kicked his pad out to save the shot, only to played the puck right into the path of a speeding Devon Palliani, who could only lick his lips at the chance. Palliani made no mistake, and put the proverbial cookie in the jar, sending the Rams to the second round of the playoffs.

Game three’s get set to kick-off for the remaining series at 3:00 on Sunday.

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