Rams take series lead with first playoff victory
NORTH BAY, Ont. - Heading into game one against the Nipissing Lakers, the Ryerson Rams had never won a playoff game in program history, nor had they beaten Nipissing on the road.
That all changed on Wednesday afternoon.
The Ryerson Rams would top the Nipissing Lakers by a final score of 4-2 on the road, taking a 1-0 series lead in the first round of the McCaw Cup playoffs.
Captain Ailish Forfar (Sharon, Ont.) returned to the ice today after being sidelined by an injury near the end of the regular season. Forfar would tally one goal and one assist on the matchup.
An exciting first period served as a reminder to the heightened pace of playoff hockey. Opening the scoring for Ryerson, forward Lauren Nicholson (Dresden, Ont.) would wire a shot over top of Nipissing goaltender Jackie Rochefort (Ajax, Ont.) to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
Rachel Seeley (Ottawa, Ont.) put up a stellar performance in the period, closing the door on all ten of the Lakers’ shots. The Rams headed to the dressing room with a 1-0 lead over Nipissing after 20 minutes of play.
Madison Solie (Sedley, Sask.) opened up the scoring for the Lakers, tying the game at one just five minutes into the second period. Two minutes later, Taylor McManus (Huntsville, Ont.) would chip the puck past Seeley to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead.
Nicholson scored her second of the game eight minutes into the second, wiring another shot overtop of Rochefort to tie the game at two.
With only a minute remaining in the period, Forfar took a high shot from the top of the faceoff circle and Kryshanda Green (Brampton, Ont.) would inadvertently tip in the puck to put the Rams up 3-2 late in the second period.
The third period was relatively uneventful until the final minutes of the game when Nipissing’s Sam Strassburger (Schreiber, Ont.) would take a boarding penalty with 2:45 left to play. On the power play, Alex Rodriguez (Toronto, Ont.) was called for interference and the teams would play four-on-four hockey for 1:31. The Lakers pulled their goaltender and, seconds later, Forfar would send the puck down the ice to tally an empty-net goal for her team.
The Rams would take the victory in this game by a final score of 4-2. Ryerson, now leading the series 1-0, will face the Lakers in game two of the playoffs on Friday at 7:15 pm at the Mattamy Athletic Centre with the chance to advance to the OUA semifinals.