Bitter battle ends in defeat as Warriors’ woes continue


The Waterloo Warriors had a bitter pill to swallow Saturday evening after a tight 3-1 loss against the Guelph Gryphons.

The Warriors were in Guelph to take on their division rivals with hopes of redemption after their last meeting with the Gryphons did not go according to plan, ending in a 4-3 loss.

The Warriors shook things up before the puck drop with starting backup goalie Matt Onuska. Onuska, appearing only in his second game of the season, hadn’t played since Waterloo’s most recent win against the Lakehead Timberwolves on October 14, 2023. The Gryphons, on the other hand, were looking to get back in the win column and snap a two-game losing skid. 

The Warriors’’ first period was quiet until Tate Popple was taken down hard and unfortunately had to leave the game with an apparent leg injury. The Warriors tried to keep the pressure on the Gryphons through the first period. Despite getting 10 good shots on goal due to multiple power play opportunities, the Gryphons’ Ian Ferguson would sneak one past Onuska with a couple seconds left on the clock to make it 1-0 heading into the second period.

The second period showed signs of a comeback, after Alex Gritz scored his sixth goal of the season, tying the game 1-1. However, the Warriors began to show signs of miscommunication after two consecutive penalties, where the Gryphons, although unable to score, aimed tons of shots at Onuska, making the second period tense and down to the wire. Luckily, the Warriors hung on and headed into the third period with a legitimate chance of finally snatching their elusive first victory in almost three months, getting payback at their division rivals.

But the Gryphons had other plans in mind, as they were able to push past the Warriors’’ depleted defense after an interference penalty charged to Nate Bierd, and score a painful goal early in the third period to make it 2-1. There was still plenty of game to be played, however, and the Warriors pushed hard to get the puck past the Gryphons’ goalie Colton Incze. But Incze held on and made multiple tremendous acrobatic stops to deny the Warriors several times. 

With just under two minutes left in the period, the Gryphons’ Emmett Gordon sealed the game after scoring on an empty net to make it 3-1 Gryphons. 

Despite the Warriors’ last push with a few shots on goal, the game ultimately ended in a 3-1 defeat, with the Gryphons pleasing the home crowd with a victory, and extending the Warriors’ losing streak to 13 games.

The Warriors will continue their pursuit for a win Friday evening at Columbia Ice Field, hosting the Windsor Lancers. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

Edits have been made for clarity.