The U15 AA Guelph Gryphons capped off an incredible 2021-2022 season by bringing home a silver medal from the OHF Championships in North York this past weekend.
The Gryphons kicked off the tournament by banging home a goal in the final seconds with the goalie pulled to tie the Goulding Park Rangers 2-2 in the opening game of the championships. It was just another example of the never say die Gryphons refusing to give up as has been the case the entire playoff run. That evening, the Gryphons came out flying and trounced the St. Thomas Stars by a score of 7-1 to put them in 1st place after the first day of action.
On Saturday morning, Guelph was all over the host North York Knights and came out with a 6-2 victory. However on Saturday night, the Gryphons ran into penalty trouble in a physical battle with the Soo Jr Greyhounds and a late goal handed them a 2-1 loss, giving them a 2nd place finish in round robin pool play.
This set up a semi final game against the same Soo squad. However, 14 hours after the Saturday game ended, Guelph found their composure and their skating legs and swarmed the Soo zone constantly for a well-deserved 3-1 victory.
This set up the final against the Goulding Park Rangers. The Gryphons came out flying and came at the Rangers with wave after wave of pressure. 3:40 into the contest, Nathan Schlitt made a breakout pass to Addison Murphy-Rodgers who quickly moved it up to a streaking Nathan Briggs who walked in and ripped it home to open the scoring. Just 46 seconds later, Zac Conroy and Koen Smith worked the puck into the Goulding Park zone and fed Andrew McMillan at the top of the slot. McMillan made no mistake, sending the puck top corner for a 2-0 Guelph lead. A late Goulding Park goal close the gap to 2-1 after the first period of play. A scoreless second period left the Gryphons just 15 minutes from making history. However, Goulding Park jumped out in the third period and pinned Guelph down with three goals in the opening five minutes of the period. Lady Luck finally ran out on the Gryphs as they refused to give up but were not able to recover. A late empty net goal made the final 5-2.
It has been an incredible run for this Gryphon team. Seeded 11th out of 15 heading into the playoffs, this team came back from the January shutdown on a mission and would not be denied. There were so many last minute victories, overtime victories, and so many displays of resiliency that this will be a season not soon forgotten by players and parents alike.
Under the new playoff format instituted this season, the U15 AA’s made history by capturing both the Tri County and OMHA Championships, a feat not previously possible. Adding an OHF silver medal to the Championship collection was a special way to end a tremendous season.
The Gryphon team would like to extend a heart felt thank you to the GMHA hockey community. The barrage of texts and positive messages that the players and parents constantly received during the Tri County, OMHA, and OHF Championships were overwhelming and were a huge motivating factor for the players. Combined with the large fan support that made the drive down to North York this weekend, it makes us all very proud to be Gryphons.