TORONTO - In order to beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in their home opener, the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team knew that they’d need to be close to perfect. Fortunately for them, goaltender Sydney Authier (Wallaceburg, Ont.) was just that as she stopped every one of the 33 shots she faced to earn her first USports clean sheet and lead the Rams to a 2-0 victory.
The shutout was the first by a Ryerson puck stopper since former Ram Alex Armstrong blanked the York Lions 1-0 on February 12th, 2015.
“I loved Syd Authier’s performance between the pipes,” said Ryerson’s head coach Lisa Haley after the game. “She’s been solid every time out and definitely held us in when we needed her to.”
Playing in front of a sold out crowd of students from the Toronto District School Board at Mattamy Home Ice, the Rams took advantage of the energy in the building.
Just 42 seconds into the game, Ryerson defenceman Rachel Dowdall (Courtice, Ont.) fired a point shot on the Varsity Blues’ net that was mishandled by goaltender Hailey Farrelly. Following a scramble in front, Kryshanda Green (Brampton, Ont.) scored to send the building into a frenzy. Green’s first in a Ryerson jersey, assisted by Lauren Nicholson (Dresden, Ont.) and Dowdall, gave the Rams a crucial 1-0 edge.
In the second period, Authier stole the spotlight. Although Toronto outshot the Rams 18-7 in the frame and dominated for long stretches of time, they weren’t able to beat the sophomore between the pipes.
“I was biting my nails pretty hard in the second,” said Haley. “I thought U of T had an excellent second period, adjusted really well and put us back on our heels. I definitely liked how we bent but didn’t break and then we got the big goal to give us a bit of breathing room.”
Inspired by the play of their goalie, Ryerson doubled their lead midway through the third. After a neutral zone faceoff win, Stephanie Chiste (Schomberg, Ont.) sent Green and Ailish Forfar (Sharon, Ont.) into the Varsity Blues’ zone on a 2-on-1. Green broke to the left side with the puck and drew in the defender before dishing it off to Forfar in the middle. The Dartmouth transfer picked the puck up in the slot, made a nifty move to her backhand and roofed it over Farrelly’s glove for her second goal of the season.
“Obviously they put (the) points on the board when they needed to,” said Haley when asked about the performances of Green and Forfar. “But, I give pats on the back to players who are specialists in other areas but don’t end up on the scoresheet. I think of some big faceoffs that Sarah McGilvray won and some big minutes we got out of Alyssa Connolly… We all take a lot of pride in the fact that we shutout a very dangerous team.”
The victory bumps the Rams’ record to 1-0-0-1. They move into fourth place in the OUA early in the season. Toronto falls to 1-0-1-0 and currently sit in a tie for fifth.
Ryerson will look to continue their strong start to the campaign when they hit the road to take on their other cross-town rival Sunday afternoon. Puck drop between the Rams and York Lions is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Canlan Ice Sports York.
NOTES: The win was only Ryerson’s third against the University of Toronto in 12 OUA meetings between the two programs… Toronto’s regular starting netminder Valencia Yordanov, who was between the pipes for their season opener against the Waterloo Warriors, didn’t dress for the game. Farrelly was solid in her place though; she turned aside 18 of the Rams’ 20 shots… Nicholson’s assist was the first OUA point of the rookie’s career.