Mustangs upset Gryphons to keep McCrae Cup hopes alive

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November 3, 2012, TORONTO (CIS) – Megan Duffy scored on a penalty stroke with six minutes left in regulation to put the fifth-seeded Western Mustangs in medal contention with a 2-1 upset win over the No. 3 Guelph Gryphons in the eighth preliminary round match of the FHC-CIS women’s field hockey championship, Saturday morning at Varsity Centre.

With the game deadlocked 1-1, an intentional foul by Guelph in their circle set up a Duffy penalty stroke. The Ilderton, Ont., native made no mistake, firing the ball into the bottom right corner for the game-winner.

With two games left in the preliminary round later today, four teams can still advance to Sunday’s McCrae Cup final and are assured of playing for a medal, including UBC (2-0-1 / 7 pts), Western (2-1-0 / 6 pts), Guelph (2-2-0 / 6 pts) and Toronto (1-1-1 / 4 pts).

Victoria (0-3 / 0 pts) is eliminated from medal contention.

Round robin action wraps up with tournament host Toronto facing Victoria at 12:20 p.m., and Western battling reigning national champion and top-seeded UBC at 4 p.m.

“The game was well played on both sides and our girls did the simple things right,” said Western head coach Jeff Pacheco, the CIS coach of the year, who heads a program that had gone 0-3 in its lone previous CIS championship appearance in 2003. “I can’t say enough about what the girls are doing right now. They are sticking to the game plan and playing confident hockey while having a lot of fun too.”

The Mustangs opened the scoring on their fourth penalty corner opportunity when the ball came to rookie midfielder Anna Bukta at the side of the net. The London, Ont., native found the back of the net to give Western a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.

Guelph evened the score on a penalty corner of their own in the 25th minute with a goal from Greenfield Park, Que., native Allison Chute, the 2012 OUA rookie of the year.

Both teams exchanged opportunities in the second half. Gryphons goaltender Kaye McLagen of Mitchell, Ont., came up with a big save on Duffy in the 46th minute off a penalty corner. CIS player of the year Brittany Seidler drove the Gryphons into the circle on numerous occasions but the Mustangs defenders denied everything that came their way.

Duffy proved to be the hero with her marker in the 64th minute, and earned player-of-the-game honours for her efforts.

“Western came out hard,” commented Gryphons head coach Michelle Turley. “We’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. They played very well. We didn’t have our best game today.”

Western and Guelph are now 2-2 this season in head-to-head competition.

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