The Guelph Gryphons will compete for a gold medal on championship Sunday after handing the Montréal Carabins a 5-0 loss in Saturday’s first semifinal matchup
The win marked the first time the Gryphons clinched a spot in the title game.
“Honestly, I’m a little speechless… I’m just so proud of this team,” said team captain Kaitlin Lowy. “We’ve worked all year for this. We knew we were peaking at the right time, and by no means were we surprised that we came out with a big effort today.”
The Gryphons drained the life of their opponent in a five-goal first period and never looked back. What’s more impressive, is that no player recorded more than a point in the win, as their balanced attack was on full display. Mallory Young, Claire Merrick, Ashlee Lawrence, Molly Crossman and Madison Melo all scored in the first 20 minutes.
“We take a lot of pride in our depth,” Lowy said. “There’s not one star on this team. We’re made up of 24 individuals who bring it every day and make each other better and that’s why we’re good all through the lineup.”
Guelph wasted little time and stunned the Carabins with a goal just 34 second into the game. The puck cycled to Young, who rifled a shot from just inside the blue line to beat Aube Racine.
The Gryphons continued to pressure the Montreal defence and at 6:15, Merrick took a nice feed from Gabrielle Smyth and guided the puck past Racine. On another odd-player rush 1:36 later, Sydney Davison came down the right side and slid a pass to Lawrence, who wristed it home.
A little give-and-go action between Crossman and Nicole MacKinnon behind the net led to the fourth goal, as Crossman accepted the puck in front and deposited the goal at 11:31.
Guelph added another one late and went into the intermission with a commanding 5-0 lead after Karli Shell’s drive to the net led to Melo’s goal on a rebound.
“At the beginning of the season, we were struggling with our first periods and we found a way to turn it around and made sure we came out flying,” said Lowy. “It sends a message to the other team that we’re coming down on them real hard and that’s the way we played all game.”
Looking to get back in the game, Montréal managed to outshoot their opponent in the middle frame, but was denied each time by Valerie Lamenta, who turned aside all 10 shots she faced in the period.
Lamenta continued to play big between the pipes and recorded a 31-save shutout after a perfect third.
The Gryphons await the winner of semifinal No. 2 featuring Alberta and McGill. The gold medal game begins at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.
“We need to stick to our game plan,” said Lowy. “I think our resiliency and never-say-die attitude will get us through and hopefully get that gold medal.”
Players of the Game
- Guelph: Valerie Lamenta
- Montréal: Annie Germain