The newly-formed third line for the Guelph Gryphons didn't have much time to get used to one another, but it worked out for the Gryphs as they won their OUA men's hockey league West Conference semifinal series opener with the Ryerson Rams 5-3 Thursday night at the Gryphon Centre.
"We've had some lines that have had great chemistry together," Gryphon coach Shawn Camp said. "Despite moving guys in and out of the lineup with injuries and that sort of thing, it's been really good to see that guys are clicking together right away at the most critical time of the year."
Seth Swenson scored a pair of goals for Guelph while linemates Len Fabbri and Stephen Hiff contributed assists in the first game of the best-of-three series.
"That was a good line together with a little bit of everything," Camp said. "Fabbri distributes the puck real well and wins faceoffs, Hiff has real good speed and Swenson's a scorer on his off side there. For a right shot on the left wing he did very well."
"Overall my whole line was working hard," Swenson said. "They were setting me up in good spots. It could have been anyone on my line, we were all working hard and I just happened to be there.
"We have a couple of injuries so it's been rotating a bit, but all our guys play a similar way and as long as we work hard, we're going to have some chemistry."
The Gryphs jumped ahead early with the only goal of the first period. They extended the lead to 3-1 in the second period and added to their advantage early in the third before Ryerson closed the gap to a single goal by the midway point of the period. Kyle Neuber hit for an empty-net goal for the Gryphs with four seconds to go to complete the scoring.
"We came out strong at times, but we had some lapses in our game and that allowed them to keep coming back," Swenson said. "We definitely look to tighten that up."
"They're a very skilled team and they play hard throughout the game and that's what we expected," Camp said. "We gave them too many power-play opportunities and when we do that they're skilled enough that they're going to score. They don't need our help."
Ryerson scored two power-play goals on six opportunities while the Gryphs were held scoreless on their two man-advantage situations.
Rob De Fulviis and Cody Thompson had the other goals for the Gryphs while Hiff, Fabbri, Neuber, Carlos Amestoy, De Fulviis and Rob Lepine each had one assist.
Michael Fine scored twice for Ryerson while Mitch Theoret added a single goal.
Second game of the series is set for Friday at Ryerson's Mattamy Athletic Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
If Ryerson wins that game, the third game in the series is to go Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Gryphon Centre.
Winner of the series faces either the Western Mustangs or Toronto Varsity Blues in the West Conference final.