Rams win big to end season and five careers
WATERLOO, Ont. - While there hasn’t been much to smile about throughout the course of this season for the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team, a 6-2 win over the Waterloo Warriors in their final game of the 2016-17 campaign on Saturday was well deserving of a couple grins at the sound of the game's final buzzer.
The Rams’ six goals on the afternoon were the most they’ve scored in a single game all season long and snapped a two game goalless streak in the process. In a season that felt as if nothing went their way, Saturday afternoon’s romping of the Warriors was the feel good ending the Rams needed in order to finish off the year on the right foot.
Krashandra Green was once again the leader for the Rams offensively and put up a goal and an assist in the win. With the two point performance, Green tied Ryerson’s individual season point record with 20 points (Kyla Thurston, 2011-12). Green’s ten goals on the year also ties her with Thurston for the most goals scored by a Ram in a single season.
The Rams got off to a hot start in Waterloo on Saturday with Michelle Evagelou finding twine mid-way through the opening frame for the game's first goal. Lauren Nicholson then potted one of her own with less than a minute to go in the period and gave the Rams a 2-0 lead headed into the second.
The Warriors came out for the second more determined and started to gain back some of the momentum they lost in the opening twenty minutes. Rachel Marriott of the Warriors managed to beat Rams’ starting netminder Sydney Authier in front and cut the Rams’ lead in half just minutes into the period.
The back-and-forth play continued throughout the period with stellar play from both Authier and the Warriors’ Taylor Riemer between the pipes. The Marriott marker was the lone goal scored in the period and forecasted what was to be an exciting third period finish with the game 2-1.
The Warriors started the third period off much like the first with an early goal less than five-minutes in. Rebecca Rutherford tagged the Rams with the game tying goal and made things interesting at 2-2.
The Rams responded extremely well after allowing the Warriors to tie, and went on to score four unanswered to evidently win 6-2. Sarah McGilvray and Ailish Forfar scored less than two minutes apart to regain the Rams’ two goal lead. Green then potted her 10th of the season less than a minute later to tie the single season scoring record and make the game 5-2 in favour of the Rams. An empty netter for Evagalou’s second of the night then sealed the deal for the Rams as they went on to defeat the Warriors 6-2 at the Columbia Ice Field in Waterloo, Ont.
Autheir was stellar between the pipes for the Rams and made 23 saves en route for her seventh win on the season. Justine Johnson also had an exceptional afternoon and finished with a pair of assists for a two point outing.
The end of the season also marked the end of an era at Ryerson. This was the last game in a Rams’ jersey for five graduating seniors: Stephanie Chiste (Schomberg, Ont.), Michelle Evagelou (Scarborough, Ont.), Justine Glover (Wasaga Beach, Ont.), Blair Malthaner (Toronto) and Danelle Im (Toronto). All five have been an enormous part of the women’s hockey program during their time here and will be missed.
Chiste was named the fourth captain in team history at the beginning of this season and has been a force every time that she steps onto the ice. One of the best shutdown defenders in the province, she finishes her Ryerson career second all-time in games played (124). She also graduates as the all-time leader in penalty minutes (183) and third in points (30).
“I think it was undisputed amongst the players and the staff that she was the right person to wear the ‘C’ for our group,” said the Rams’ head coach Lisa Haley a couple of weeks ago. “You know what you’re getting with Stephanie every night… She plays a physical style, can skate the puck out of trouble and she’s going to stand up for her teammates every chance that she needs to… When you look at what you’d like your program to look like, she’s a good image of what you’d like to see.”
Like Chiste, Evagelou has had a long, five season career here. She suited up for 122 career games (third all-time) and racked up 20 points. Her Ryerson career was defined by doing things that don’t necessarily show up on the game sheet though.
“I think Michelle has really grown into her strengths,” said Haley. “She’s done whatever role I’ve asked her to play, whether it be a winger on the first line or a centre on the fourth line or penalty killing or blocking shots… You need versatile players like that.”
Another dependable, defensive defenceman, fifth year Justine Glover also won’t be returning as a Ram next season. An alternate captain for both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns, she wraps up her Ryerson career with 109 games played.
“She came in as a walk-on in her first year and has made the team on her own merit every year,” said Haley. “So, (I have) a lot of respect for that. She’s a student of the game, always trying to get better and she’s learned to really love the game this year and appreciate the opportunity and it shows on the ice.”
The only fourth year player in the graduating class, Malthaner has played a style of hockey that puts fans in the seats during her time as a Ram. With her blazing speed and wicked wrist shot, she was always a threat to make a big, game-breaking play. One of the team’s leading scorers last season, she completes her time at Ryerson with 16 goals (tied for second all-time) and 22 points (tied for fifth all-time).
“When she decides to take the puck and go, there isn’t really much that is going to stop her,” said Haley. “She gets more breakaways than anyone else on the team and I think a lot of it is her mentality that she’s going to go to that puck and take it from you… She’s consistently relentless with her work ethic and has been a fantastic defensive specialist for us.”
Following a four year career at Wilfrid Laurier University where she won two OUA championships, Im made her presence felt in her single season with the Rams.
“I think she’s probably the most liked player in the dressing room and I don’t think the other 24 players would disagree with me,” said Haley. “When she puts on her helmet, she turns into a different person. She’s so nice, but when she steps onto the ice she’ll do whatever it takes to win.”