Ridgebacks flip the script on Rams
TORONTO - UOIT’s Nicole Gorda scored on a power play with 1:28 remaining in the third and her teammate Shanelle Doucette found the back of the net in double overtime to defeat the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team 4-3 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Saturday afternoon.
“Obviously they did a great job of finishing on that opportunity that they had,” said Ryerson’s head coach Lisa Haley following the game. “We had the lead when we wanted to and hopefully next time we can just finish it off and not send it into overtime.”
Coming off a tough 4-3 loss in regulation to the York Lions on Thursday night where a slow start cost them, the Rams looked much better in the opening frame of this one. Ryerson tested UOIT’s first-year netminder Briar Hughes a number of times early and had the majority of the possession. The Ridgebacks weathered the storm though and executed on their first good chance of the game.
UOIT’s Sam Forchielli picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and fired a slapshot from the top of the right circle past the blocker of the Rams’ starting goaltender Rachel Seeley (Ottawa, Ont.) and into the back of the net. The fifth-year forward’s third goal against Ryerson this season on the Ridgebacks’ first shot of the game made it 1-0 four minutes in.
The Rams continued to dominate the play for the rest of the frame though and were rewarded for their efforts. Third-year defenceman Alex Rodriguez (Toronto) fired a wrister through a crowd and past a screened Hughes to level things at one late in the period.
Ryerson took the momentum from that tally into the second. Danelle Im (Toronto) collected a rebound from a Laura Ball (Toronto) point shot and snapped it into the back of the net to put the Rams up 2-1 less than two minutes in.
It would stay that way until the Ridgebacks’ Nicole LoPresti chopped a loose puck in front of the Rams’ net between the pipes to knot things up once again with just over four minutes left.
Shortly after that marker, Haley elected to pull Seeley in favour of Sydney Authier (Wallaceburg, Ont.).
“She’s been really solid and she’s certainly earned the opportunity that she was given,” said Haley about the first-year goaltender. “She’s obviously still gaining some experience in this league and there’s some high-quality shooters out there as well. For us, we want to try to stay in the game and, unfortunately for her, I had a mindset of a ‘short leash’.”
The home side grabbed the lead back five minutes into the third. During four-on-four action, Rodriguez went for a spectacular end-to-end rush and sent a laser past the glove of Hughes. Her second of the game and third of the season made it 3-2.
“I think a big part of it was my teammates opening up and clearing those lanes,” said Rodriguez about the highlight reel play. “UOIT obviously plays a really aggressive forecheck, so to make the ice bigger was really to my advantage and it was just the open path at the time.”
From there, Gorda bulged the twine late and Doucette was the hero for UOIT in double overtime.
Hughes finished with 47 saves for her first career OUA victory. Seeley and Authier combined to stop 25 shots in the loss.
“I thought we generated the chances that we needed to and you have to believe if you keep doing that you’re going to get rewarded for it,” said Haley. “Tonight just wasn’t the night that it was going to happen I guess. But, we did a lot of things well.”
The two points for UOIT (3-1-4-3) and single for Ryerson (3-1-4-3) move them into a three way tie with the Queen’s Gaels (4-1-6-0) for ninth place in the standings.
The game was the fourth straight time that a clash between the Rams and Ridgebacks required more than sixty minutes to be decided. In their previous meeting on October 30th, a goal from Ryerson’s Ailish Forfar (Sharon, Ont.) with 43 seconds remaining in the third period tied things up at two before Rodriguez scored the shootout winner in the sixth round.
The Rams will look to rebound in their final game of the first semester. They’ll host the last-placed Laurier Golden Hawks (0-1-9-1) on Thursday, December 1st. Puck drop on Mattamy Home Ice is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
NOTES: The 50 shots that the Rams recorded (40 of which came in regulation) is the most they’ve collected in a single game in program history… This was the seventh straight game that Ryerson surrendered the opening goal… The Ridgebacks finished 1-for-9 on the man advantage while the Rams went 0-for-4… Ryerson’s defenceman Rachel Dowdall (Courtice, Ont.) may have had the play of the game. Midway through the second period she cleared a rolling puck off of the Rams’ goal line to save a sure goal and keep it 2-1 at the time.