Photo by Hung Le

McCool nets overtime winner to beat Warriors

By Cara Gilhula

TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams came out on top over the Waterloo Warriors at Mattamy Home Ice on Thursday after a dramatic 6-5 overtime finish.

In the midst of a four game losing streak, the Rams were ready for a fresh start on Thursday night.

“Our focus today was to stay positive. We have been getting down on ourselves as of recent, so that was our goal today, no matter what happens, try to play hard. Yet, we weren’t going to accept a loss tonight,” said Hayden McCool after the game.

The beginning of the game was not entirely what the Rams had hoped for. The Warriors opened the scoring on Ryerson 30 seconds into the game thanks to Michael Siddall and an assist by Keigan Goetz.

Things started to turn around for the Rams when Matt Mistele fired a strong shot on the Warriors' goalie, and the puck hit his pad so hard it bounced over and into the net to tie the game 1-1. This was Mistele’s 16th goal of the season.

Shortly after, with quick movements from Vince Figliomeni and Jesse Barwell, David Miller was able to glove the puck out of the air, gain control and finish with a backhand to make it 2-1 for the Rams.

In the second the teams erupted for seven goals, starting with Waterloo's Mitch Elliott getting past Taylor Dupuis early on again to tie the game at 2-2.

About 30 seconds later, the Rams made their way into the Warriors zone with quick passes. John Carpino and Devon Paliani found the clearings, but it was Gregory DiTomaso to finish it off and take the game to 3-2.

From there on out, the momentum was elevated for both teams as there was frequent turnovers in the second period. The Warriors returned the favour and added another point to the scoreboard at 3:21 with a tip by Elliott from Siddall and Goetz. The game was tied again at 3-3.

The Rams were not letting up and followed the pattern of continuing the action. Alex Basso made a smooth pass to Patrick Fellows. Then, Cavin Leth was able to pick up the puck and get himself on the game sheet for his fifth goal of the season. The Rams were up for a short time at 4-3.

Again, the Warriors came back, and it was Markson Bechtold to get one on the Rams after the puck trickled into the net with help from Goetz and Michael Morgan. The game was tied again at 4-4.

With Mathew Santos back in the lineup for the Rams, it was no surprise that he would earn a point tonight. Santos scored his 14th of the season to gain a new lead over the Warriors at 5-4. Assists were given to Mistele and Mark Shoemaker.

Unfortunately, as the game proceeded, the Warriors came back again after the puck deflected off of the skate of Waterloo’s Bechtold from Cole Murphy to make it 5-5.

Troy Timpano joined the last few seconds of the second period for Dupuis and took over the rest of the game for his first appearance with the Rams.

Overall, it was very much a back and forth period. Although the Rams were unable to hold their lead, their ability to come back helped them get back into their groove of hosting a high scoring game, and using each line to progress the play.  

Into the third period at 5-5, the Rams came out pressing hard and were thankful it did not get off to as quick of a start as the last 40 minutes, but neither side was able to get much going.

At the end of the third, with only seconds to spare, Timpano made a huge breakaway save to keep the Rams in the game. The third period remained scoreless, and progressed into overtime at 5-5.

During overtime, the Rams looked tired but they still had a bit more of a pick up than the Warriors. Throughout the game McCool had a number of chances but he could not earn the lucky bounce. Luckily, he was saving it for when it mattered most. DiTomaso made the pass to Mistele then to McCool, who received a weird bounce of the puck and tipped it into the net at 2:34 into overtime. The Rams won 6-5 and ended their four game losing streak.

“I missed a few in the game that I probably should have had. Then, in my first shift of overtime, I had one that I should have had again. So, I would have been pretty upset if I didn’t finish the game that way,” said McCool.

This was McCool’s tenth goal of the season.

“To finish that way for our team right now and get that win was pretty massive. We are on the way to getting into that groove again because our confidence wasn’t that high, so this game was a good transition point for us.”

Head coach, Johnny Duco said, “we’re ready to get rolling again,” and so they will when they visit the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday, January 12th at Sun Life Arena. Puck drop will be at 7:07 p.m. For live updates, follow us on Twitter.

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