Photo by Christian Bender

Santos hat trick paces Rams over Golden Hawks

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO - The No. 9 ranked Ryerson Rams men's hockey team treated the hundreds of elementary school fans at the Mattamy Athletic Centre to an entertaining game on Friday, defeating the Laurier Golden Hawks 6-2 in the annual School Day game.

It was an early start with puck drop at 11:00 a.m. but the Rams came ready, needing just 49 seconds to earn a lead. Mathew Santos got the scoring started with his 20th goal of the season to set the tone for an offensive day.

The Golden Hawks got on the board nine minutes later when Christian Mroczkowski made a move to attract both defenders to him before passing off to Danny Hanlon who had a wide open net to tie the game at 1-1.

Before the first period ended, Santos netted his second of the game when he ripped a power play goal over the glove of Laurier starter Tyler Fassl, to give Ryerson a 2-1 lead heading to the intermission.

The offence continued to roll in the second with three different players finding the back of the net. David Miller made it 3-1 nine minutes into the period when he banged home a loose puck after Laurier's Fassl whiffed on a glove save. That goal chased Fassl from the crease for the remaining of the period.

Marcus Hinds scored his fourth of the season to make it 4-1 before Hayden McCool opened the game up and pushed the lead to 5-1. Laurier's Jeremy Pullara scored another in the late stages of the period to make it a 5-2 game heading to the third.

Ryerson got another quick goal to start the third, just 55 seconds in, as Santos completed the natural hat trick after a pretty passing play with Zach Shankar and Hayden McCool.

Santos and McCool both finished with three points while new linemate Devon Paliani added two assists. 

"We split up (our) top line in order to spread out our scoring a little bit and I think the guys have responded really well and it gives the opponent a really tough task in which line they want to focus on...and match up with," said head coach Johnny Duco after the game.

The top line of Matt Mistele, McCool and Santos was split up in the game against Western last weekend and has now put more of a balanced offence on the ice.

Though the offence garners much of the attention in this one, it marks the third straight game the Rams have allowed two goals or fewer, which is something the team has been working towards.

"We've really been preaching to the guys the better we are defensively, with all five guys back helping out, and the tighter we are in neutral zone coverage...the more it's going to lead to turnovers which is going to generate more offence for us," said head coach Johnny Duco.

With one assist this afternoon Matt Mistele now has 46 points on the season, tying the Ryerson single-season record. With three games left on the schedule, he looks primed to become the new record holder.

With the win the Rams improve to 18-5-2 on the season and move into sole possession of first place in the OUA West division. Ryerson will be back in action on Saturday, February 2 for their final home game of the season. Puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m. against the Toronto Varsity Blues with a special senior night ceremony to be held.

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