By William Brown
The Ryeson men’s hockey team lost for the first time this season on Wednesday night, dropping a 7-3 decision to the Toronto Varsity Blues.
Andrew Doyle, Michael Markovic and Corey Jackson each had a goal for the Varsity Blues, while Dylan Heide and Tyler von Engelbrechten each added two goals. Kent McPherson, Domenic Alberga and Robert Visca countered with goals for Ryerson.
After the game, Ryerson’s players and coaches admitted they were outplayed by the Blues.
“They outworked us and out-hustled us,” said head coach Graham Wise.
The loss followed an impressive opening weekend where the Rams went 2-0 with wins over McGill and Ottawa.
Ryerson burst out of the gate with two goals in the early stages of the game, but a struggling defense failed to protect the lead.
“We got a little bit complacent after getting the two goal lead,” said McPherson, the second-year defenceman. “There were a few defensive breakdowns and we weren’t able to recover.”
The Rams good start came courtesy of goals from McPherson and Alberga. McPherson came rushing down the ice on a shorthanded three on one with Alberga and Visca and converted Alberga’s centring pass into an open goal.
Alberga scored his fourth of the year two and half minutes later when he knocked in Michael Fine’s loose rebound on the power play.
After that the Varsity Blues amped up their offensive games, scoring seven goals while only allowing one.
Doyle kicked the scoring off for Toronto with a goal sent into the bottom corner from the slot off a Rams turnover. Markovic and Hiede followed with goals of their own.
The Varsity Blues scored again thirty seconds into the second period with von Engelbrechten’s first goal of the night. Ryerson pulled within one less than two minutes later, but then Heide and Jackson effectively put the game out of reach.
Starting goaltender, Steve Gleeson, was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots in just over ten minutes of play. His reliever, Troy Passingham, calmed the storm, allowing four goals on 36 shots. In total, the team’s save percentage was a dismal 0.815 per cent, but the players didn’t put that statistic fully on their goalies’ shoulders.
“It’s definitely not their fault we let in seven goals,” said McPherson. “It’s all of our defense.”
“We’ve got to help our goalies out,” said Alberga. “You can’t put all the blame on two guys. It’s a team game.”
Special teams played a big part in Wednesday’s game; the Varsity Blues capitalized on the Rams poor penalty kill with 4 power play goals on 8 penalties.
“The penalty killing was atrocious,” said Left-Winger, Jamie Wise, “We got to work as a unit of four. We got into penalty trouble and they took advantage on their power play.”
“[Penalty killing] is a big thing in this league” said the rookie, Alberga, “We took way too many today, and they capitalized, unfortunately for us.”
But coach Wise insisted discipline is just part of the learning curve for some of the younger players.
“We got some young guys who are taking [the penalties],” said Wise, “We got to give them time to get adjusted to the league.”
Ryerson now goes south of the border to take on Princeton in a pair of weekend games before returning home to face Guelph and Brock in two weekend’s time.