Photo by Alex D'Addese

Rams fall short of regular season sweep of Guelph

By Ryan Bacic

TORONTO – It appears as though the Guelph Gryphons have found a way to combat the Ryerson Rams, as they walked away from the Mattamy Athletic Centre with a 6-2 victory on Friday night and prevent a regular season sweep at the hands of the Rams.

The opening period of the game took on a familiar note of offensive intensity that has become commonplace between these two teams.

However, unlike in previous games, the scoring spree started exceptionally early into the contest.  Just thirty-eight seconds after the initial puck drop, Guelph forward Cody Thompson (Mississauga, Ont.) would take advantage of a breakaway play to pot the first goal of the game.

Just one minute later, Thompson would add to his earlier contribution and put the Gryphons up 2-0 less than two minutes into the opening frame.

“It’s tough to go behind like that,” commented Rams captain Alex Basso (Toronto, Ont.) on the early two goal deficit.  “When you are playing a top team, you know they are not going to give up too many two goal leads and I think this something we have to work on.  We sometimes come up flat in the first five minutes and building some excitement before the game I think could help with that.”

For the remainder of the period, the Rams played with a sense of urgency, doing all they could to keep a surging Guelph offense at bay.  This strategy seemed to pay dividends for Ryerson, as their ability to keep the Gryphons contained defensively translated into a plethora of offensive chances in the Guelph zone.

The Rams would subsequently be able to capitalize on two of these chances, as forwards Cavin Leth (Taber, Alta.) and John Carpino (Maple, Ont.), who have acted as scoring phenoms for the Rams as of late, would tie up the scoreboard as the two teams headed into the second period.

Heading into the second however, the pace of the game would slowly begin to swing in favour of the visiting Gryphons.  Through a combination of offensive intensity and overall aggression, the Gryphons began chipping away at the Rams defensive pressure by remaining for long stretches of the period within the Ryerson zone.  

“We have done a good job all year,” commented Basso on his team’s ability to keep their composure in the face of consistent Guelph pressure, adding, “it’s all about just sticking to the game plan and being positive with one another.”

With the Rams being unable to clear the puck out of their zone for much of the second, the number of offensive chances they were presented with in the period was limited to an extensive degree.

While the second period had concluded with no change in the score, the precedent that had been set within the second twenty minutes of play would unfortunately set the tone for the final period.

“Just sending the puck towards the net, and hopefully getting some rebounds for some scoring chances,” stated Basso on the Rams offensive strategy heading into the third, adding, “we expected them [Guelph] to try and imitate what they were doing in the second.”

Unfortunately however, the Rams wouldn’t get many opportunities to score throughout the third period, as the Gryphons would go on a scoring onslaught that would swing the game in their favour.  

Two minutes into the period, Guelph forward Todd Winder (Uxbridge, Ont.) gave his team the 3-2 advantage to open up the final frame.  Winder scored again later on in the period, to join his teammate Cody Thompson in recording two goals in the contest.

Additional contributions from Trevor Morbeck (Jackson, Wisc.), and Scott Simmonds (Uxbridge, Ont.) on a penalty shot, would provide the Gryphons with the eventual 6-2 win.

The Rams will be back in action on Saturday night, as they play the Brock Badgers in their final game of the 2017-18 regular season.

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