Defending Critelli Cup champs open playoffs with a win over Windsor

Defending Critelli Cup champs open playoffs with a win over Windsor

GUELPH, ON – The OUA women's hockey playoffs are officially underway.
 
And the defending champs are picking up right where they left off.
 
Wednesday night at the Gryphon Centre, the top-seeded Gryphons women's hockey team picked up a 3-0 victory over the No. 8-seeded Windsor Lancers. With the result, the Gryphons lead the best-of-three OUA Quarter-final series 1-0. The Gryphons, who last season won the McCaw Cup for the first time since 1998, will now try to sweep away the Lancers and book a spot in the conference semi-finals. Game 2 is scheduled for Friday night in Windsor.
 
Wednesday night's matchup marked the second time in the last four days that the Gryphons and Lancers squared off. This past Saturday (Feb. 18), the Gryphons recorded a convincing 7-2 victory over the Lancers in what was the second-to-last game of the regular season schedule. The Gryphons, who won both of their regular season meetings with Windsor outscoring them 12-4 along the way, were once again able to jump out to an early lead on the Lancers. At the 14:27 mark of the 1st period, the Gryphs would open the scoring. After a great individual effort, Claire Merrick was able to corral her own rebound and set up Kaitlin Lowy on the doorstep. 
 
The Gryphons would extend their lead to 2-0 just 15 seconds into the 2nd period when Katherine Bailey stepped into a point shot on the power play. Later in the period, the Gryphs would once again strike on the man advantage, this time it was Lowy jumping on a rebound and firing the shot into the top corner for her second of the night. For Gryphons head coach Rachel Flanagan, special teams were the difference on the night, "We've been working a lot on our power play so it was great to see the girls capitalize out there tonight. I also thought our PK had some really big kills tonight. It was great to see both units executing at a high level." The Gryphons finished the night a perfect 2-for-2 on power play opportunities while killing off a trio of Lancer power play opportunities.

During the regular season, the Lancers were the second-highest scoring team in the OUA (next only to the Gryphons). Wednesday night however, the Gryphons were up to the challenge defensively. Gryphons goalie Valerie Lamenta, the reigning player of the year in women's hockey, was sharp, making 27 saves in the shutout. 
 
Puck drop for Game 2 of the series is set for 7:30pm on Friday at South Windsor Arena. The game can be seen live online at www.oua.tv.

Source: Guelph Gryphons