By: Christina Flores-Chan
Although both the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team and their fans pumped their fists in celebration on Friday night, the team couldn’t repeat their performance in their back-to-back.
The Rams were defeated by the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks 5-3 in their Saturday afternoon pre-season game.
“We knew there would be a bit of a let down after playing for 2500 fans last night [at the homecoming game],” Rams head coach Johnny Duco said.“I felt that our overall effort was subpar tonight. We didn’t seem to have much urgency, which led to a loss against a team that came in hungry.”
The Rams only had 16 players dressed to play Ontario Tech, as opposed to their usual lineup of 18, in an effort to keep the team healthy and injury-free.
The first period started off strong for the Rams. Within twelve minutes, Ontario Tech had scored the first goal of the game, but the Rams were quick to recover. Less than a minute after Ontario Tech’s goal, Ryerson’s Brandon Glover tied it up. Then, with five minutes left in the period, Steven Harland scored a second goal for the Rams, giving them the 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately for the Rams, that lead was short lived. The second frame was riddled with turnovers, most of them at the expense of the Rams. Ryerson also took a series of minor penalties, from high sticking to roughing to interference.
“We’ve got to be cleaner,” Rams forward Hayden McCool said when asked about his thoughts on the team’s accumulated penalties.
“It’s not easy coming from seven months off and everyone’s still kind of getting back into the swing of things.”
At the midway point of the second, Ryerson had started to collapse, giving up three more goals, which included two power-play goals. By the second intermission, the score was 4-2 Ontario Tech.
Nervous murmurs could be heard, scattered throughout the stadium at the start of the third period, but the game didn’t pick up until the very end. With around one minute left in the game, Ryerson forward Adam Craievich scored one more goal, raising hope for a possible comeback.
That was almost immediately countered by a fifth goal empty-net for Ontario Tech. The final score stood, 5-3 Ontario Tech.
Following the thrilling homecoming game just the night before, Saturday’s game fell short for the Rams.
“Yesterday was so much fun for all of us, and today it’s hard coming in and [the stadium] being a little quiet.” McCool said.
“An objective for us every game is to win the special team’s battle and last night our powerplay and penalty count was excellent,” Duco said. “Today, neither one was excellent. It’s pre-season, so we’ll learn from today and try and get better. It is what it is.”
This was Ryerson’s second loss to Ontario Tech this pre-season. Ryerson will look to bounce back in their next pre-season game against the Concordia Stingers on Friday at 7:15 p.m. at home.