by Mallory Kosterski
It took only one night for the men’s hockey team to match last season’s one-win total, but their winning streak was snapped there.
The Rams won their first game Friday night 6-3 over the Carleton University Ravens. Saturday brought a game of defensive lapses for the Rams, as the Ravens prevailed 8-7.
“Unfortunately, it was a little rough out there, but we’re still going the right direction,” said Rams rookie forward Troy Boudreau. “I can’t see us going any where else than up.”
Ryerson fell behind early on Saturday as Carleton peppered Rams rookie goalie Pierre Bellieu, building a 7-2 lead by the second period. Bellieu joins the Rams after playing in a tier-three pro league in Austria last season, a league Mitrovic equates to university level.
“Pierre was just a bit shaken tonight, he’ll get over it, he’ll play better next time,” said veteran forward Chris Sutton.
Coach Mick Mitrovic agreed, saying the team was down because of miscommunications, but was pleased with their overall performance.
“They weren’t selfish. They were executing the x’s and o’s properly,” Mitrovic said. “We’ve got some kinks to work out.”
Sutton, last year’s leading scorer and one of only eight returning players, believes the team’s Saturday night performance wasn’t indicative of the squad’s potential.
“That was a joke of a game,” he said. “We were playing a team who is not as good as us, and we played down to their level.”
This year’s 23-man roster features 15 rookies — Mitrovic overhauled last year’s one-win squad. The team played well offensively, spending much of the game in the Carleton zone and generating plenty of scoring chances. Mitrovic is excited about the guys he’s brought together for this year’s campaign.
“We got rid of all the dead wood. Everyone that’s in that dressing room right now belongs there and are a integral part of our team to go forward,” Mitrovic said. “We brought in 15 new players who are able to build and mesh in with these guys.”
The revamped Rams are built to score, but are still more responsible defensively than last year’s hapless squad.
“We had 50 shots (on Carleton) this year, last year we gave up an average of 50 shots,” said Mitrovic, who believes the team has a lot of positives to work with.
“Now that they have a supporting cast, there is no reason why we need to be kicked around like Ryerson has been for five, six, or seven years,” Mitrovic said.
“We’ve got great atmosphere, good chemistry, all the boys, they all click, and that’s one of the biggests of having a hockey team… We’ve got size, we’ve got scoring ability. We should be alright. We have passion,” Boudreau said.
“I would sooner lose 8-7 than win 1-0… At the end of the day, it’s excitement which brings the kids out to watch our game,” Mitrovic said.
Mitrovic is looking forward to next Friday’s game against division rival Queen’s University. It’s a game the coaches will use to gauge their team’s performance within the division.
The Rams open their season Oct.20, when they visit the University of Guelph. Their first regular-season home game is Oct. 27, when they host their cross-town rival York University Lions at George Bell Arena.