KIRIAKOU SCORES FOUR TIMES AS GRYPHONS DOWN RIDGEBACKS IN MEN'S HOCKEY

GUELPH, Ont. - The Guelph Gryphons opened the men's hockey season at home on Thursday with a win over the UOIT Ridgebacks. Guelph didn't let anything slow them down, netting eight goals on 54 shots in the 8-5 victory.

Guelph got a shock to their system in the first period when the Ridgebacks flew out of the gates, scoring just three minutes in. After a great save by Matt Smith (Waterloo, Ont.), the puck trickled through the crease and before a Gryphon could get a stick on it. Tony Rizzi of UOIT slapped it in, making it 1-0 Ridgebacks.

Some great puck control by Guelph in the UOIT zone drew a penalty and the squad went to work on the power play. After a missed breakaway attempt, the puck came loose in front of the net and Thomas Kiriakou (Richmond Hill, Ont.) was there to stuff it in, getting the first Gryphon goal of the 2009-2010 season, and his first of many in this game.

Later in the period Kris Belan (Florence, Ont.) would dangle in from the side boards and roof one on the Ridgeback netminder Jason Guy and Kiriakou would finish the period off on a put back from a wide shot that ricocheted off the boards and ended up in front of the net.

The second period looked like it was going to be much like the first when UOIT netted one three minutes in again, to take away the insurance from the Gryphons and make it 3-2. If that wasn't enough of a scare, a minute later, the Ridgebacks, while in control in the Gryphon end, wired a shot from the point that was tipped in by Steve Spade knotting the score at 3.

Minutes later while Guelph was working the puck in UOIT's end, Kiriakou slide a quick pass from behind the net right to the tape of Jake Lalonde's (Sudbury, Ont.) stick, missing the first attempt but making the second effort count, jamming it behind the goalie.

The Ridgebacks were able to even things up, when a cross-ice pass had the puck floating freely in the Gryphon end, and while Smith came storming out to cut it off, Jeremy Whelan of UOIT was able to slip the puck around Smith and throw it in from a distance.

It was at this point that Kiriakou of the Gryphons, decided to take things into his own hands, streaking down the sideboards from the redline and slinging a long shot past the goalie to give him a hat-trick on the night. But not much later, Kiriakou would find himself on the receiving end of hard pass from Barrett Brook (Leduc, Alta.), at the point, and chipped it in from the side of the net, increasing his total to four on the night.

The score was 6-4 going into the third. After a quick goal by the Ridgebacks, Guelph came back with two more of their own.

The first came after some intense back and forth action, when Matt Lyall (Richmond Hill) dropped the puck back to Nathan Martine (Port Colbourne, Ont.) at the point who hammered a low hard shot that met the back of the net. The second came much later when Geoff Guimond (Mississauga, Ont.) was hauled down on a partial breakaway and with no ensuing penalty, David Volpe (Bolton, Ont.) scooped up the puck behind the net, dished it back in front to Guimond, and Guimond punched it in.

There were some close calls in the third, with the puck ringing off the post on a couple occasions and with less than a minute left Smith stood on his head, making some spectacular saves to keep the Gryphons ahead. Tim Priamo (Guelph, Ont.) also had a key defensive stop when a wide-open Ridgeback had a chance at an open net and Priamo got his stick on the puck to keep it out.

Smith, who got the nod for the season opener, played all three periods with 24 saves, to help the Gryphons come away with the win.

Source: Guelph Gryphons

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