WINDSOR, Ont. - The Windsor Lancers took full advantage of game one at home as they scored three unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 win over the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team Wednesday night at the South Windsor Arena.
The Lancers now hold the early 1-0 lead over the Rams in this best-of-three OUA West Semi-Final and have a chance to send the Rams packing with a win on Saturday night.
Lancers’ starting netminder, Blake Richard, continued his post-season excellence Wednesday night and made a number of key saves throughout the match. He countlessly robbed Rams in tight and finished the evening with 44-saves in the win.
The Rams got out to a dream start and one of the fastest starts the OUA has ever seen. Matt Mistele transitioned off the opening faceoff and beat Richard nine-seconds in for the games opening goal and an early 1-0 lead.
The Lancers looked far from stunned after they allowed the surprising opening goal and didn’t take long to respond with an equalizer of their own. They began to throw everything but the kitchen sink towards the Rams’ Charlie Graham in net. Eventually, a Kyle Hope point shot found twine for the game-tying marker, and just like that, both teams found themselves knotted up 1-1 less than four minutes into the first.
The goals kept coming early in the period after the line of Michael Fine, Josh Sterk, and Mistele connected for another. After assisting on Mistele’s opening goal, Fine found another one of his line mates for the tally, but this time it was Sterk’s turn with his fifth of the post-season. Sterk’s goal came just a couple minutes after the Rams surrendered the lead and turned out to be the final goal of the period as the Rams took a one-goal advantage into the first intermission.
The Rams looked to add to their lead in the second but were caught flat-footed by a determined Lancers squad to start the period. After the Rams opened the scoring early in the first, Tyson Ness of the Lancers streaked in past the Rams’ defenders and beat Graham just 51 seconds into the period. Ness, the unsung hero for the Lancers this post-season, once again came up clutch with the early second period goal and now has three to lead his team in the playoffs.
With the score now 2-2, both teams continued to trade back-and-forth chances throughout the first half of the period, but it was the Lancers who would once again make good with Eric Palazzolo’s first of the post-season. Palazzolo’s second point on the evening gave the Lancers their first lead on the night, and thanks to stellar play from Richard down the latter half of the frame, the Lancers managed to narrowly hold on to the one goal lead as they headed into the final period up 3-2.
Down by one and a full twenty-minutes ahead of them, the Rams continued to pepper Richard with chances. By periods end, the Rams finished with 19 shots in the third, but all were steered aside by the games first star, Richard.
Dylan Dennome added a late empty-netter with one-second remaining as the Lancers shocked the Rams 4-2 for a game one victory in the OUA West Semi-Final.
Richard, who was undoubtedly the Lancers’ MVP through the opening round, picked up right where he left off Wednesday night with his 44-save performance. The play from Richard and the rest of his teammates now have the OUA’s #1 seeded team in the Rams up against the wall with a chance to clinch the series Saturday in Toronto.
Game two is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. start at the MAC Saturday night as the Rams look to draw even in the series and force a game three on Sunday. Sunday’s game, if necessary, is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. as well. Both games will be available live via stream on OUA.tv.