The Gryphons and Badgers have had four games since September to decide that they don’t like each other very much. Off the ice, there’s a level of respect that each team has earned from the other, but on the ice, all bets are off. The Gryphons took their most recent game 5-1.
The Badgers seemed to be repeating many of their early season mistakes, they were generating shots but the majority of them were low-danger and not legitimate scoring chances. Gryphons goaltender Andrew Masters is only at a .908 save percentage in 12 games played, beating him shouldn’t have been such a challenge for the offensively talented Badgers.
The Badgers and Gryphons can always be counted on to play a physical hockey game but this matchup took that to a new level. The Badgers ended the game with 30 penalty minutes on 11 infractions (one 10 minute misconduct) and the Gryphons with 58 penalty minutes on 17 infractions (three 10 minute misconducts).
The Badgers squandered power play opportunities, once again reminiscent of their early season woes. There was a beautiful opportunity late in the second, after Ryan Burton and Justin Lemcke got into a scrap after the whistle. Lemcke knocked Burton to the ice but the punches didn’t stop. With the penalties sorted, the Badgers had over a minute of five-on-three. Ethan Spaxman took a powerful shot from the point, Jordan Sambrook had a one timer that went high.
Then the Badgers allowed the Gryphons an opportunity, it was a shorthanded two on one that luckily did not result in a goal, but it was far too close for comfort. The Badgers were unable to capitalise on the five on three, they also let the five on four slip away. Andrew Masters stood on his head to make a few necessary saves but regardless, the opportunity was there for the Badgers.
Meanwhile Guelph was consistently connecting with the net, power play opportunities or not. The Gryphons scored twice in the first and twice more in the second to put the Badgers down 4-0 heading into the third.
Guelph scored shorthanded two minutes in, prompting head coach Marty Williamson to pull Mario Cavaliere from the net and send backup Jacob Hutchings in. Cavaliere has started every game for the Badgers thus far. His .904 save percentage is nothing to write home about but it’s gotten the job done in games where the Badgers have done a better job at limiting shot attempts.
This was Hutchings first regular season appearance. He saw limited play in the Badgers pre-season, most notably when he made 53 saves in a 4-4 tie against the Quinnipiac Bobcats (NCAA). Hutchings played just under 18 minutes and made four saves to prevent the Gryphons from widening the lead.
Justin Brack would spoil the Masters’ shutout with a goal of his own but that would be their final rally.
The Badgers and Gryphons have all the makings of a perfect rivalry. There’s history between the teams going back many years. Every season it starts with the Steel Blade Classic, which the Gryphons won this year. Then there’s the regular season. They’re evenly matched teams in terms of skill and their willingness to drop their gloves for a fight when necessary. The teams will play two more times this season. The Badgers took the first game on November 9, the Gryphons took this one.
Brock will look to put this loss behind them next weekend when they hit the road to play York on Friday and Ryerson on Saturday.