By Luke Galati
The Ryerson men’s hockey team blew past the Guelph Gryphons, en route to a 6-1 win at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Thursday in front of a packed crowd on student fan night.
In a bounce-back game after a blowout loss against the Toronto Varisty Blues, the Rams (3-1-0) used a balanced attack from six different scorers and a dominant OUA-debut performance from goaltender Adam Courchaine to stymie Guelph’s forcheck.
Guelph (3-2-0) started the scoring at the 2:48 mark in the first period by Brett Appio who sent a laser beam past Courchaine.
Courcahine, who had sat out the previous three games due to transfer eligibility rules, allowed the first OUA shot to count against him but would stopped the next 26-in-a-row.
“I would have liked to have that first one back, but I got the jitters out and settled down after that first goal,” said Courchaine, who played two full seasons with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL and three games with the AHL’s Providence Bruins, the Boston Bruins’ farm team.
Mid-way through the first period, Ryerson’s Domenic Alberga was nailed into the boards from behind by the Griffins’ Kyle Neuber.
With Alberga lying motionless in the corner of the ice, finally after 30 seconds and pressure from the fans, the referees stopped play. Neuber received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.
“Seeing a teammate go down, a brother go down like that its bad, no one ever wants to see that happen, it was a pretty hard, awkward hit,” said Ryerson first-year forward Matthew Andreacchi.
Ryerson rallied around their wounded warrior, with defensemen Peter Hermenegildo burying a rebound right into the back of the net on the power play near the end the period, tying the game with his third goal in four games.
In the second period, Ryerson forward Dan Lombardi got in on the action and scored a goal on the rush, from a beautiful tick-tack-toe passing play from Steve Taylor and Mitch Gallant.
Alberga then gave the Rams a 3-1 lead a far-side rush all alone, after sniping a slap shot past the blocker side of Keith Hamilton. With the goal, Alberga put himself in a tie for the league lead in goals with Guelph’s Nicklas Huard at five.
With the score 3-1 headed after two periods of play, Ryerson would continue their dominance in the final frame.
Ryerson’s captain Andrew Buck scored his first of the regular season 14 minutes into the third on a power play after a burying a rebound in a mad scramble in front of the net.
With less than 10 minutes in regulation, Gallant and Andreacchi both added their first goals of the season to put the cherry on top for the Rams, making it a 6-1 lead.
In the final two minutes, both teams started pushing and shoving after Guelph’s goalie Hamilton covered the puck. Guelph’s Thomas Kohler and Alberga, and Teal Burns and Mark Corbett engaged in fisticuffs with the rest of the players getting their licks in as well.
However, the referees did not give fighting majors to anyone invloved, which would have resulted in lengthy suspensions for all the players involved in the scrap, according to the OUA rulebook.
“You don’t like your team getting into altercations like that, but there won’t be any suspensions, the refs gave two minute minor penalties and sent the players off, which was the right call,” said Rams head coach Graham Wise.
Wise went on to say that the huge crowd helped his team stay moving and motivated and said the fans were Ryerson’s “sixth attacker all night.”
Ryerson will be in action again on Saturday when they place host to the Brock Badgers in St. Catherines, Ont.