TORONTO - The inability to find the back of the net hurt the Ryerson Rams once again as they fell 1-0 to the Waterloo Warriors on Mattamy Home Ice in OUA women’s hockey action Saturday afternoon. It was the third time in four games that the Rams were held scoreless. That posed the obvious question: where has the offence gone in 2017?
“I think we’re still trying to shake the rust off there for sure,” said Ryerson’s head coach Lisa Haley after the game. “It seemed like we weren’t quite in rhythm. Some of the little touches that normally land on our sticks from each other were just a little off the mark… So, there’s still some work to do to try to generate some offence, that’s for sure.”
In their first game back on Mattamy Home Ice in 2017, the Rams came out aggressive and hungry. Maybe too much so.
Some undisciplined play forced Ryerson to kill off five minor penalties in the first, including six straight minutes when defenceman Laura Ball (Toronto) received two minutes for roughing and four for head contact during the same stoppage. Despite spending nearly half of the period shorthanded, Ryerson went to the dressing room with an 8-6 advantage in the shot department.
Considering they own one of the the worst penalty kills in the country, the Rams ability to battle and keep the game scoreless was a huge boost. The frequent trips to the sin bin eventually caught up to them though.
With Alex Rodriguez (Toronto) in the box for tripping, Waterloo’s Amy Barnard collected the rebound off of a Hannah Street point shot and tucked the puck between the pipes. The power play marker, her fourth of the season, opened the scoring 14:14 into the frame and gave the Warriors some momentum.
The very next shift, Waterloo defenceman Stephanie Digness pinched, skated the puck out of the corner and fired a shot from point-blank range on Ryerson’s Sydney Authier (Wallaceburg, Ont.). The second year netminder was up to the task though. Her sprawling save kept the Rams within one after forty minutes.
Despite some great chances by the Ryerson, it would stay 1-0 until the last minute of the third. With time running out, the Rams’ Ailish Forfar (Sharon, Ont.) stripped a Warriors’ defender of the puck and slide it over to a wide open Kryshanda Green (Brampton, Ont.). Alone in front, Green fired a quick wrist shot that Waterloo’s rookie goaltender Taylor Reimer deflected away to preserve the victory.
Authier finished with 15 saves in the losing effort while Reimer stopped every one of the 20 shots that she faced for the first shutout of her U Sports career.
“I loved Syd’s game tonight,” said Haley. “She gave us a chance to win and made some huge saves. I think our goaltending is (getting back) to where it was at the beginning of the season.”
The regulation loss, their fourth in a row, drops the Rams’ record to 4-1-8-3. They remain alone in 11th place in the OUA with 17 points. Meanwhile, the third place Warriors improve to 8-2-5-1.
Ryerson will look to turn things around next weekend when they head north. They clash with the Nipissing Lakers (9-2-2-2) on Friday night in North Bay and the Laurentian Voyageurs (7-0-8-1) Saturday afternoon in Sudbury.
The Rams’ penalty kill finished the night 6-for-7 while their power play couldn’t capitalize on a couple of opportunities. A solid night while shorthanded bumps their efficiency to 73.8%... Known for shooting and generating scoring chances (their average of 29.8 shots per game is second in the province), Ryerson’s 20 shots on net was tied for their second lowest total of the season. “When we’re trying to find ways to shoot wide and redirect it, that tells you that they’re doing a great job,” said Haley… On the flip side, the 16 shots they allowed was the fewest they’ve given up this season.