Photo by Alex D'Addese

Lakers rough up Rams on senior night

By Stan Temming

TORONTO - Things didn’t go as planned for the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team in their final home game of the 2016-17 OUA regular season against the No. 9 Nipissing Lakers. Following a ceremony commemorating the careers of Ryerson’s graduating seniors Stephanie Chiste (Schomberg, Ont.), Danelle Im (Toronto), Michelle Evagelou (Scarborough, Ont.), Justine Glover (Wasaga Beach, Ont.) and Blair Malthaner (Toronto), Nipissing put on a dominant performance on their way to a 4-0 win on Mattamy Home Ice.

BOXSCORE

The loss drops the Rams’ record to 4-2-12-4 this season. They remain in 11th place in the standings with 20 points. The Lakers, meanwhile, improve to 13-3-3-3 and comfortably sit second in the province with 48 points.

Nipissing’s Hunter Mosher picked up the opening goal and eventual game winner eight-and-a-half minutes into the first period. She stole the puck off the stick of a Ryerson defender in the neutral zone, sped down the left side of the rink and slid the puck past the Rams’ goaltender Sydney Authier (Wallaceburg, Ont.) on the ensuing breakaway.

It would stay that way until Natalie Graham doubled Nipissing’s lead midway through the second. Following a hard shot by teammate Taylor Murphy in the slot, Graham picked up the rebound and flicked it into the top of the net on her backhand for her first goal of the year.

The Lakers’ Brooklyn Irwin extended that lead to three early in the third period before Kaley Tienhaara rounded out the scoring with a gorgeous shot through the legs of Authier on a breakaway.

Authier finished with 18 stops in the losing effort while Nipissing’s Jacqueline Rochefort turned aside every one of the 28 shots she faced.

Nipissing remains the only team in the OUA that Ryerson has never beaten. The Rams are now 0-8 all-time against the Lakers and Rochefort has been a big part of that equation. The fourth year netminder now has five shutouts against Ryerson and has only allowed a total of two goals in seven career contests against the Rams.

“She’s a very good goalie and she’s going to make the first save,” said the Rams’ head coach Lisa Haley about Rochefort following the final buzzer. “I think that teams that are going to have success against a goalie like that really have to want to pressure the net a little bit harder and try to force her a little bit deeper in the net so you get a little bit more to shoot at.”

Although the game wasn’t how she wanted to end her career at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, Ryerson’s fifth year captain Stephanie Chiste (Schomberg, Ont.) was all smiles as she reflected on her time as a Ram.

“It’s meant everything,” she said. “I had so much hope coming into this team and I made so many friends. The coaches are great. We went through a couple of assistant coaches on the defensive end, but each of them was fantastic and taught me something new.”

Chiste was an enormous part of the 2014-15 squad that qualified for the postseason and clashed with the Guelph Gryphons in the OUA quarterfinals.

"It was the first time in Ryerson history for the women’s team and everyone was so excited,” she said. “Obviously, we played Guelph which was very difficult, but there was so much talent on the team and everyone was friends and we tried to build off of that. It didn’t go our way, but that was definitely the highlight of my time at Ryerson for sure.”

The Rams wrap up their campaign with a couple of games on the road next week. They’ll make the short trip to Varsity Arena to take on the No. 10 Toronto Varsity Blues (13-2-7-0) on Thursday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The team will then finish things off in Waterloo against the hometown Warriors (10-2-7-2) on Saturday.

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