By Bob Coatsworth
Like a mailman in a February snowstorm, Ryerson’s hockey team delivered last weekend in order to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The two clutch wins over division foes York Yeomen and Laurentian Voyageurs vaults Ryerson into second place in the OUA Mid West division. They are two points ahead of Laurentian. One of the three teams will not make the playoffs.
Despite the weekend sweep, Ryerson head coach Louie Carnevale knows a playoff spot is far from being locked. The Rams face the same two teams this weekend.
“At this point, we have to clinch a playoff spot,” he said. “If we go 0-2 this weekend and [York and Laurentian] pick up wins, it’s just too close. We’ve got to beat York again and then we’re definitely in the playoffs.”
The Rams’ must-win attitude showed Saturday. David Sa, John DiBatista and Brent Spagnol gave Ryerson an uncharacteristic 3-0 cushion to work with in the first period.
With a little help from York defenseman Tony Gutilla, who rattled a shot into his own net on a clearing attempt off the glass, the Rams posted a fourth goal.
Stingy trap defense managed to suffocate the York attack the rest of the way as Ryerson came away with a 4-2 triumph. Carnevale was impressed with the way as Ryerson came away with a 4-2 triumph.
Carnevale was impressed with the way his team remained focused after a wild 4-3 win the previous night against the Voyageurs. It was a game that wasn’t decided until the teams hit the showers.
The Rams gave Laurentian a two-goal lead before three unanswered goals gave them a 3-2 lead in the third. The Voyageurs then tied the score with five minutes left in the game, setting the stage for Eric Medeiros’s last minute heroics.
Medeiros scored the game-winner on a breakaway with 44.4 seconds in the period. It was one of two goals he scored Friday night.
“Everyone has been really positive lately,” Medeiros said. “We played a good game last weekend that we should have won, but just didn’t get the breaks. Now we’re getting the breaks and playing well.”
Just as every game is crucial for the Rams, they’re equally crucial for the Rams, they’re equally crucial for the Voyageurs according to Laurentian head coach Craig Duncanson.
“It’s going to be a fight—tooth and nail—to the finish,” he said.
The playoff intensity overflowed into a wild scene as the teams were leaving the ice.
Words between opposing coaches led to a melee that erupted in front of the Zamboni doors.
Other than a little pushing, shoving and stick swinging between players, no serious damage came out of the fight.