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By Shazia Kermally

With a new coach, lots of aggression, and a short-listed roster Ryersron’s men’s hockey team played their first game of the season last Friday.

As full-time coach, Graham Wise has earned the responsibility of filling out the Rams roster. The team was at a mere 13 players when they took on the Guelph Gryphons in their season’s home opener.

“We’ve got a short bench,” said Wise, after the team’s 5-2 loss to the Guelph Gryphons saw a lot of the Rams players exhausted and struggling to keep up.

David Dubois, director of sports and recreation, said that Wise didn’t have enough time to build a team.

“Because (Wise) was hired at the end of (July), there wasn’t enough time to recruit,” said Dubois. “You’ve only got a three month window.” Wise did, however, manage to add two new players, Mike Kavanagh and Curtis Vickers, to the roster after being hired. Vickers picked up an assist on the second goal of the game.

Wise has since put up flyers around campus, advertising the openings on the team’s roster.

All of the game’s goals were scored by the special teams, with both of Ryerson’s goals scored shorthanded. Sergei Frenkel scored the first goal off a breakaway late in the first period and the second was ripped into the top of the net by Kevin Day.

Of the 37 penalties taken in the game, 23 went to Ryerson with three of them resulting in ten minute game misconduct calls.

“The type of game it is today, you put your stick the wrong way and you’re in the penalty box,” said Wise.

But despite the loss, he remained positive about the team’s efforts. “(We) played hard from the first drop of the puck,” he said. “Right now, it’s a learning process. Once (the team) learns and starts to execute, hard work can take you a long way.”

Dubois is convinced Wise will take the team that long way, citing Wise as “one of the best coaches in the CIS.”

Chris Sutton, the Rams’ assistant captain, also had nothing but praise for the new coach.

“Graham is a great guy,” said Sutton. “He’s introduced a style of hockey that fits well with our team.”

Aside from gaining approval from his players, the biggest test for Wise is proving the team can beat last year’s winning record, no matter how many players it takes him to do it.

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