By Scott Carefoot
Any hockey player knows the goaltender is the most important player on the ice.
Ryerson’s 6-1 loss to the Waterloo Warriors Friday night was a study in goaltending contrasts.
Waterloo was backstopped by a spectacular performance from netminder Joe Harris, blocking 20 of 21 shots.
Ryerson’s Carm Giurleo followed up his season- best performance against Guelph with a shaky night that put him on the bench early in the third period after a weak Waterloo goal.
Rams’ coach Louie Carnevale said Giurleo’s benching was a result of “letting in a soft goal” which gave Waterloo a 4-1 lead.
“He wasn’t sharp tonight,” said a frustrated Carnevale.
It was the Rams’ confidence that go buried as Harris made several brilliant saves, including one breath-taking stop while on his back at the end of the first period.
For the first two periods, the game bore an uncanny resemblance to the previous week’s upset over Guelph.
Ryerson fell behind 2-0 in the first period before they solved Harris at the 16:18 mark.
On a power play, Ryerson’s leading scorer Marcin Snita fired a shot from the point that rebounded to Jason Kotack. Kotack dished off to Brent Spagnol who flipped the puck over the prone Warrior goalie. If they had continued to shoot high against the 5-foot-8 netminder, they might have kept it close. Harris went down early and often to smother Ryerson’s long, low shots.
The Rams trailed 3-1 going into the final period, just like against Guelph. They seemed deflated when Waterloo caught Giurleo out of his net and took a three-goal lead.
Giurleo was replaced by rookie Geoff Norrena, who revealed a promising future with the team as he made several tough saves on the rampaging Warriors.
The Rams get a month-long break from Carnevale’s withering glare before they resume their season on Jan. 8 at home against Brock.
If they’re lucky, Santa might bring them a playoff berth in ’99.