GUELPH, ON – Gryphons third year forward Mackenzie Wong is quickly making the 2017 playoffs one to remember.
The Surrey, BC native, who scored one goal in 15 games during the regular season, continued her red-hot start to the postseason by scoring a pair of goals Wednesday night in Guelph's 3-1 win over the Waterloo Warriors in Game 1 of the best-of-three OUA Semi-final series. Wong has now scored three goals in three games during the playoffs. The defending OUA Champion Gryphons now sit one win away from booking a spot in the McCaw Cup and will go for the sweep of the Warriors on Saturday afternoon in Waterloo.
Two and a half weeks ago, the Gryphons were shutout in a 3-0 road loss to the Warriors. But on Wednesday night, the Gryphs were able to get on the board early. Midway through the 1st period, the Gryphons would jump out to a 1-0 lead when a wrist shot from second year centre Karli Shell (Lively, ON) trickled past Waterloo goalie Stephanie Sluys and in.
Early in the 2nd period, the Gryphons would be caught on a line change and the Warriors would take advantage, with Dana Fairbairn finishing off a 3-on-2 by re-directing home past Val Lamenta to tie the game at 1-1. After failing to capitalize on a 2-on-0 break, the Gryphons would come through on a power play at 13:08 of the 2nd period. Mackenzie Wong's wrist shot through traffic would beat a screened Sluys to give the Gryphons a 2-1 lead. Less than five minutes later, Wong would score her second of the night, this time jamming home a loose puck from a scramble to put the Gryphons up 3-1.
It would prove to be the final goal of the contest with the Gryphons locking down defensively over the final 20 minutes of play to secure the 3-1 victory. Val Lamenta turned away 21 of the 22 shots sent her way for the win and made several big stops early in the game, including denying Warriors forward Samantha Burbridge on a breakaway opportunity with the game still scoreless back in the 1st period.
The Gryphons will now return to the site of their only loss of the 2017 calendar year when they visit Columbia Ice Fields Arena on Saturday, March 4. Puck drop at U of W is set for 2:30pm. With a win, the Gryphons would have the opportunity to play the OUA Championship game (McCaw Cup) on home ice for a second straight year.
Source: Guelph Gryphons