LONDON, Ont. - It was a night filled with adversity for the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team but they took it in stride in order to overpower the Western Mustangs in a 7-4 victory at the Thompson Arena in London Friday night.
After a convincing 6-2 victory over the Brock Badgers just the night prior, the Rams may have been a little too passive coming into Friday’s dance with the Mustangs.
The Mustangs wasted little to no time in getting the game's first goal and shocked the Rams just 48 seconds in for an early 1-0 lead. Robert Polesello and Mike Dipaolo sprung in on the 2-on-1 before Dipaolo received the pass and buried it past the outstretched glove of the Rams’ Taylor Dupuis.
The momentum immediately swung in favour of the Mustangs and put the Rams into overdrive in hopes of getting back on track. The Rams looked determined yet in control and patient as they waited for their opportunity to arise. It finally came midway through the period after the Mustangs’ Mitch Brooks was called for the cross check.
On the ensuing power play, the Rams’ Mitch Theoret took the puck and threw it on net before finding an open Daniel Clairmont in the crease for a scrambled goal. The Mustangs’ Greg Dodds had no chance on the play as Clairmont’s second on the year pulled the Rams even at 1-1.
The first period looked good and done before a debacle last minute by the Rams. Polesello and Andrew Goldberg scored just 17 seconds apart in the final minute of the first and in the blink of an eye, the Mustangs had managed to go up a pair and take a 3-1 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes.
The Rams accomplished to float what felt like a sinking ship due to the first with a complete 20-minute effort in the second frame. Matt Mistele found an open Michael Fine, who pulled off a gorgeous move around the defender before finding Josh Sterk at the side of the net for the tally.
Fine decided to share once again just a few minutes after the 10-minute mark in the period. Fine sent a seeing eye shot off the pillows of Dodds and right onto the tape of an incoming Luke Mercer. Mercer simply corralled the puck and shoveled it into the wide-open cage for the Rams to once again draw even with the Mustangs at 3-3.
The Rams wrapped up their three-goal period with a last minute goal of their own thanks to a Devon Paliani one-timer. Paliani’s third goal in two games gave the Rams their first lead of the night and sent them to the final frame with a 4-3 lead.
A Vince Figliomeni marker early in the third followed by Aaron Armstrong’s 11th of the season catapulted the Rams to a convincing 6-3 lead.
The Mustangs went on and added a late one in the period but Sterk’s second of the night and empty netter sealed the deal as the Rams won their second in a row with a 7-4 victory over the Mustangs.
Dupuis was solid once again between the pipes for the Rams as he made 20 saves for his seventh win of the season.
Dupuis’ counter part, the Mustangs’ Dodds, tasted a lot of rubber in the loss and finished the night with 41 saves in what was his 13th game of the season.
Theoret, Mistele, and Fine all registered two assists apiece Friday night and were a huge part of the Rams’ 15th victory of the season.
The Rams now hold a three-point lead over the second place York Lions for tops in the West division. With Friday night’s win, the Rams now improve to 15-4-1 on the year for 31 points.
The Rams don’t return to game action until next Thursday, January 19th, against the Waterloo Warriors as they kick off a five game homestead at the Mattamy Athletic Centre through the month of January.