The York University Lions men's hockey team twice erased a one-goal deficit en route to a 3-2 victory over the Guelph Gryphons in the opening game of their OUA West semifinal series at Canlan Ice Sports on Wednesday night.
Trailing 2-1 after two periods of play, the Lions scored twice in the first two minutes of the third period to take their first lead of the game. After that the Lions locked down defensively and rookie goaltender Mack Shields (Saskatoon, Sask.) stood tall in net to earn the victory.
It didn't take long for the visiting Gryphons to jump on the board in the contest as MacKenzie Nichol opened the scoring just 1:32 into the game for an early 1-0 lead that stood throughout the first period.
Early in the second period the Lions were handed a four-minute penalty, but they killed it off and then went on to score the equalizer, off the stick of Greg Milner (Watford, Ont.) to tie the game at 1-1. The tie didn't last long, however, as the Gryphons pulled ahead again only 59 seconds later on a goal by Robert Lepine and led 2-1 after two.
The Lions came out flying to start the third and went to work quickly. Derek Sheppard (Ajax, Ont.), the team's leading scorer in the regular season, tied the game again at 1:06, and just 54 seconds later Trevor Petersen (Thornhill, Ont.) was left all alone on the power play and slapped the puck into the net for a 3-2 lead.
The Gryphons had their best chance to tie the game mid way through the third when a hard shot trickled through the legs of Shields but was cleared off the goal line by defenceman Shayne Rover (Newmarket, Ont.) just before it rolled into the net.
Shields also made a tremendous save in the first period to keep the Gryphons ahead by just one, reaching behind himself to snatch the puck out of the air. He finished with 22 saves on the 24 shots he faced, while Guelph goaltender Scott Stajcer made 26 saves.
The Lions can now clinch the victory in Game 2 when the series shifts to Guelph, Ont., on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30pm at the Gryphon Centre. Should a Game 3 be necessary, it will be played on Saturday night at 7pm at Canlan Ice Sports.
Source: York Lions