The Windsor Lancers (4-2-0) were playing the second of back-to-back games this weekend, but it was Ryerson (2-3-0) who looked tired coming out of the gate. The Rams had a full week off between games, and head coach Lisa Haley was surprised with the start.
"We had a long week getting ready for one game on a Sunday. You would think we'd be chomping at the bit to get out there and it was a bit of a surprise because it was something we talked about in our pre-game, having a good start."
Early on the Rams defencemen had trouble executing their breakout passes to the forwards and Ryerson was unable to retain possession of the puck for any period of time. Before the Rams registered a shot, Windsor's Bree Polci (London, Ont.) put the Lancers on the board.
After some good cycle work by the Lancers, Polci walked out from the corner and roofed the puck over Ryerson netminder Brianna Tremblay (Whitby, Ont.) to give Windsor a 1-0 lead at the 6:31 mark.
Haley gave Windsor credit for their attacking play which forced several of the Rams' turnovers.
"Windsor forechecks really well and have good structure which makes it difficult to find somebody that's open. That was certainly their strength today and we'll have to watch some video to be more successful next time."
Despite the slow start, the Rams were quick out of the gate in the second period. Emily Rose Galliani Pecchia (Toronto) had a solid shift working the puck behind the net. She was able to get Windsor goaltender Karlyle Robinson (St. Catharines, Ont.) moving the wrong way and Melissa Wronzberg (Thornhill, Ont.) picked up a loose puck and tucked home a wrap-around to even the score at 1-1 just 46 seconds into the second frame.
Ryerson kept their feet moving throughout the first part of the second period and Monique Cornett (Potsdam, NY) burst down ice for a partial breakaway before being hauled down on her way to the net. The Rams were awarded a penalty shot and Cornett found a hole on Robinson's blocker side to give Ryerson a 2-1 lead at the 6:41 mark. The goal was the first of Cornett's OUA career.
After the game, Cornett gave full credit to her coach for a way of attacking the penalty shot.
"It was totally Lisa's (Haley) idea. In warm up we noticed the goalie was weak on her blocker side. Lisa told me to take it towards our bench and then shoot low blocker side and I happened to hit it there."
After grabbing a 2-1 lead Ryerson did a good job of collapsing down in front of Tremblay. The Lancers were looking to cash in on the jam play but could not get past the defence.
With just under six minutes remaining in the frame, Windsor's Alyssa Baldin (Windsor, Ont.) blew past a defender caught flat-footed at centre ice and roofed the puck over Tremblay's shoulder to tie the game at twos.
Tremblay made a strong save with four minutes remaining to keep things tied at 2-2 but two minutes later was beaten by a streaking Ally Strickland (Chatham, Ont.). Strickland chipped the puck past the defender at her own blue line and beat everyone down ice. She tucked it home for the short-handed and game-winning goal at 18:08 of the second period.
Neither team would find the back of the net in the third until Candice Chevalier (Essex, Ont.) added an empty netter with 18 seconds left to make it a 4-2 final.
Ryerson is back in action next Sunday, October 28 when they travel to Guelph to take on the nationally ranked Gryphons. The Rams return to Mattamy Home Ice on Saturday, November 3 when they host the York Lions for a 2:00 p.m. puck drop.