TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams advanced to the second round of the OUA playoffs with a 2-0 victory over the Laurentian Voyageurs Wednesday night at Esther Shiner Stadium.
The Rams advance to the quarterfinals for the third consecutive year and avenge a 2009 postseason loss to the Voyageurs.
"It was exciting," Viktor Anastasov said. "We were expected to win so we came in serious and focused and the results came."
Ryerson struck first in the do-or-die game as Anastasov redirected a corner kick in the 17th minute past goalkeeper Matt George.
"I made a run, which I wasn't supposed to make," he said. "My run is usually to cover the goalie and not go for the ball, but I just felt it. I went for the ball and flicked it."
Laurentian was awarded a penalty kick in the 38th minute after a handball in the Ryerson 18-yard box. It was a golden opportunity for the Voyageurs, who hadn't posed a serious scoring threat, to get back into the game. They sent up their best player, Davor Alisic, and after a tense buildup he aimed for the bottom right side.
Rams goalkeeper Christian Marlado guessed right, both figuratively and literally, and kept the Voyageurs at bay.
"That separates a good keeper from a great keeper," associate coach Filip Prostran said. "Having a good year is one thing, but stepping up when your team really needs you and when you're not expected to make the save, that's the difference."
Maraldo made five saves for the clean sheet. His counterpart, George, stopped nine of 11.
The visitors came out and pushed the pace in the second half, making Ryerson's one goal lead look vulnerable at times. The Rams picked themselves up and answered their challengers, reverting back to simpler, grittier soccer. As Prostran put it, they looked like piano carriers, not piano players.
"I was pretty nervous at some points during the game," Markus Molder said. "It was just about who wanted it more and in the end we just battled through it, got the second goal and from then on, they just gave up."
Milos Scepanovic, Ryerson's leading scorer, iced the game in the 81st minute, converting a cross before ripping off his shirt for the Rams faithful. He was issued a yellow card for his celebration.
With the win, the Rams will face the Carleton Ravens on Sunday afternoon. The Rams lost to the Ravens on opening night, their only loss, and played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 29. Kick off is at 1 p.m.