Photo by Alex D'Addese

Reds shut down Rams offence in series opener

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams men's hockey team couldn't find their offensive flair on Friday night in front of an energetic crowd at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, as the Rams dropped a 3-0 contest to the visiting University of New Brunswick Reds.

The Reds, national champions in two of the past three seasons, showed why they can be so successful, putting forward a physical, defensive game and jumping on their offensive chances.

In the opening 20 minutes, neither team could find the back of the net as the squads seemed to be feeling each other out. It was clear from the start though, that the Reds weren't going to give the Rams anything easily. Ryerson mustered just four shots in the opening frame.

At the other end, UNB fired 10 shots towards Rams goaltender Taylor Dupuis (New Liskeard, Ont.) in the first, with the best chance of the period coming off the stick of Alexandre Goulet on a two-on-one opportunity. Dupuis was able to slide over to deny the shot.

In the opening moments of the second period it looked like Ryerson was going to get the break they needed when Mathew Santos (Toronto) blocked a shot and gathered in the bouncing puck for a breakaway. Unfortunately for the Rams, Santos couldn't corral the bouncing puck for a clear shot, and the opportunity went for naught.

Shortly after that, UNB opened the scoring after an offensive zone faceoff win. The Reds drove to the net and Goulet potted the rebound just over five minutes into the frame.

UNB's Mark Rassell doubled the lead to 2-0 at 12:08 when he too, banged in a rebound. Rassell had a few chances on the door step before finally lifting the puck over Dupuis' pads. The 2-0 scoreline would hold at the end of 40 minutes.

In the third it was UNB's Stephen Anderson who rounded out the scoring. He finished a cross-ice feed after a Rams miscue behind their own net.

Despite the score, the Rams have lots to take away from the opening game of the two-game series with the Reds. Taylor Dupuis finished with 35 saves, many of them highlight reel worthy.

"It's something we've come to expect from [Dupuis]," said Rams head coach Johnny Duco of his goaltender's performance following the game. "We knew he'd be up for this game and he'd give us a strong performance. To him, he gave us the chance to win...and we're really happy with how he played."

As for the crowd, the Rams were disappointed they couldn't give their fans more to cheer about but appreciated their support all the same.

"[The crowd] makes a world of difference - every time you touch the puck, or every save you make, or every chance we get, for the crowd to make some noise...it's no secret that we feed off that energy and it's too bad we couldn't get one to really let the place erupt."

The Rams and Reds will be back in action for game two of their exhibition series on Saturday afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

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