Photo by Christian Bender

Rams suffer first loss of season in Montreal

By Cara Gilhula

MONTREAL, Que. - The Rams fell to the Concordia Stingers at Ed Meager Arena on Saturday night for their first loss of the season. The final score was 6-4.

The Rams and Stingers equally started with an offensive draw to start. They both had strong chances early on. Although, the Rams saw a more in depth strategy that began with their ability to win the face off, and then not allow Concordia to touch the puck.

It was an honourable night for Ryerson captain Alex Basso (Toronto, Ont.) as this was his one hundredth regular season game that he has laced up with the Ryerson Rams. Throughout the game Basso continued to break up the play on the the Rams defense against the Stingers. He was able to command the blue line and create chances for the Rams. It was clear that Basso knew this was another opportunity to test the team’s performance and consistency. His ability to be the first to the puck each time helped motivate the team past their frustrations that were building throughout the first period.

Even though the Rams kept the Stingers from developing a play in their zone and setting up their strategy, tensions started to rise for the Rams as the Stingers started to control and take advantage of the game as Ryerson consistently found themself in the penalty box. Unfortunately, with ten penalty minutes in the first period the Rams suffered, and were unable to gain full control.

At 11:21 Stingers’ Jean-Philippe Beaulieu (Napierville, Que.) split the Rams defense on their power play to earn the first goal of the evening.

Heading into the end of the first period, the Stingers took advantage of the last three seconds of their 5-on-3 that they had secured over Ryerson. Stingers' Hugo Roy (Cookshire, Que.) shot past the blocker to earn a two goal lead over the Rams.

A minute later, Ryerson’s Hayden McCool (Whitby, Ont.) drew the puck to the opening in front of the net, and returned the favour of scoring his own power play goal during the Rams 4-on-3. Mathew Santos (Toronto, Ont.) and Matt Mistele (Whitby, Ont.) helped set the play. Ryerson was down 2-1 heading into the second period.

Ryerson goalie Garrett Forrest (Ashburn, Va.) stopped 17 of Concordia’s 19 shots in the first period. The Stingers forced Forrest to show off and anticipate the play in order to make a number of strong saves. If it wasn’t for Forrest the first period could have seen a higher score from the Stingers.

During the second period the Rams came out strong, redeeming their penalty mishaps from the first period. They earned six shots early in the first couple of minutes, and one finally found the back of the net.

The Rams took advantage of their power play and Mistele scored through the five hole after strong tape to tape passes from Santos and Steven Harland (Toronto, Ont). The game was tied 2-2 at 4:51 in the second period.

The intermission and early goal was a great push for Ryerson. McCool found his stride and pushed through the Stingers’ defense to give the Rams the 3-2 lead at 7:44. Assists were warranted to Santos and Mistele for their third point each.  

On another power play for the Stingers, the offense screened Ryerson’s Forrest and Philippe Sanche (Mercier, Que.) scored to tie the game 3-3 at 10:34 in the second period.

It wasn’t long before Concordia was able to grab the lead. The Rams lost the puck to a weird bounce right in front of the net, and Forrest was disoriented-like in his crease. Concordia's Zachary Zorn (Yellowknife, N.W.T.) scored a short handed goal to give the Stingers the 4-3 advantage into the third period.  

In the beginning of the third period Ryerson continued to attack the Stingers’ zone. They were able to continuously get past their defense, but could not get the shot to the goal, until another power play. For his fourth point of the night, Santos shot a rocket to score. Mistele also earned his fourth point of the game for his assist and Harland acquired his second. The Rams were now tied 4-4.

After being neck and neck all game, it appeared that the game was going to transition into overtime. But after a number of chances, Stingers’ Roy scored his second goal of the game to give Concordia the lead.

In hopes to acquire one last opportunity, the Rams pulled Forrest. Unfortunately for the Rams, the Stingers’ Chase Harwell (Southbury, Conn.) scored with 1:20 left in the third.  

The Rams fell for the first time of the season to the Concordia Stingers with the final score being 6-4.

With three out of four of Ryerson’s goals being from their power play, it is promising to see their practices evolve into game scenarios so quickly. Although, with four power play goals, one short handed goal, and one empty net, the Stingers took advantage of the Rams. This was the first time of the season that the Rams were unable to bounce back. The game was very much back and forth, but the Stingers were able to neutralize the Rams by allowing the team to make their own mistakes.

After last night’s game and tonight against Concordia the Rams faced nine goals against them. In comparison, during their three other regular season games they only had six points opposing them.

It will be beneficial for the Rams to return home to the Mattamy Athletic Centre where they will host UQTR next Friday at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday at 4:15 p.m. Follow us on Twitter for live updates.

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