Photo by Alex D'Addese

Rams prepare to take on Lions in round two

By Ryan Bacic

TORONTO – The Rams playoff run in the 2017-18 season will continue as they prepare to take on their cross-town rivals, the York Lions, in the second round of the playoffs on Wednesday night.

The Rams and Lions met one another a total of three times throughout the entirety of the regular season, with York taking the season series 2-1.  With the back-and-forth nature of their regular season match-ups, in conjunction with the enmity shared between these two Toronto-based teams, the resulting series has Rams head coach Johnny Duco excited for the possibilities.

“It’s going to be a dog fight,” stated Duco on how he believes the series will advance.  “We know each other well, from a player, personnel, and a coaching stand point.  I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff and the team that they have over there.  They are also the defending Queen’s Cup champions, so they obviously know how to win at this point in the year, and we are the ones going in as the underdogs.”

While the resulting match-up will surely be entertaining to watch unfold, by no means did either team get to this point in the playoffs with ease.

The Lions were surprisingly taken to three-games by a scrappy Lakehead Thunderwolves squad that took Game 1 of the series from them with a thrilling triple-overtime victory.  Although the experienced York line-up made short work of the younger Thunderwolves down the stretch, the series did expose some rather obvious holes within the Lions playing style that the Rams could take advantage of.

Likewise, the Rams were pushed to the limit against the Western Mustangs in their first-round match-up, after being forced to reconsider their playing strategy following a 5-1 loss against the Mustangs in Game 2 of the series.

In terms of strategy heading into the first game of this best-of-three series, coach Duco understood the necessity of outworking the veteran Lions squad, whose penchant for getting ahead early in games could hurt a Rams squad that would be forced to chase the lead for the entire rest of contest.

“We’ve got to make sure to outwork them in all three zones if we want to have any success,” stated Duco.

Game 1 of the series takes place on Wednesday, February 21 at Canlan Ice Sports.  Puck drop is at 7:00 pm, and the game can be seen live on OUA.tv, with live updates being provided on the Ryerson Rams Twitter account @ryersonrams.

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