By Luke Galati
The Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team prevailed 7-6 in an intense game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees Saturday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The game had eight lead changes, along with a total of 13 goals scored, but none were bigger than Peter Hermenegildo’s game winner, to end the deadlock, with only 1:14 left in regulation, giving Ryerson (2-0-0) their second straight win of the season.
“It seemed like every time we got ahead, they caught up, then we were able to get up again and then they caught up again,” said Rams head coach Graham Wise.
In the first period, Ottawa (0-2-0) kicked off the game scoring a power play goal at the 9:36 mark. The Gee-Gees Charles Power buried a rebound that came off the pads of Ryerson’s goaltender Troy Passingham to give Ottawa its first lead of the game.
Only a minute and twenty six seconds later, Rams defenceman Bryan Birkoff tied the game up on a rocket of a shot from the blue line, sniping it top right corner past Ottawa’s net minder Warren Shmyko.
In a blink of an eye, the Gee-Gees regained their lead only 29 seconds later at the hands of Matthieu Tanguay-Theriault who buried a rebound that came from his teammate Nicolas Larocque-Marcoux’s spin-o-rama shot.
With just over two minutes left in the first period, Ryerson tied the game back up after the Rams’ Domenic Alberga slashed down the right wing and backhanded a pass right into the stick of Michael Fine in front of the net.
With the game tied at 2-2 the second period began right where play left off, with nonstop scoring and physical play written all over the ice.
Only 58 seconds into the period, Ottawa’s Stephen Blunden nailed a Ryerson player into the boards from behind on a play that left the entire crowd speechless.
With the Ryerson player lying motionless on the ice, a brawl popped off between the two teams, with all 10 players on the ice pushing, shoving and punching each other.
Although no one took of their gloves, (which would have resulted in a five game suspension) Blunden received a five minute checking-to-the-head penalty, along with a game misconduct, which according to the OUA’s penalty and sanctions chart, will result in a one game suspension.
With the tension building play finally resumed after three minutes of stoppage.
Ryerson took advantage of their two-man power play seconds after Ottawa’s first penalty ended with Birkhoff feeding a pass from the blue line to Fine who went from his forehand to his backhand and back to his forehand for the goal.
Perhaps the Blunden hit inspired the Rams, because Victor Terreri scored just over five minutes later on a pass from behind the net by Dean Willmott to extend their lead to 4-2.
The Ryerson rally was short lived as the Gee-Gees answered back, with Pol Gonzalez pouring in a goal 15 seconds after Ryerson extended the lead.
Ottawa’s Alexandre Touchette added another goal less than three minute later to tie the game back up.
The action packed second period continued as Ryerson’s Fine put on his best Mats Sundin impression behind the net, shielding the puck with his back to the Ottawa defender as he backhanded a pass to a wide open Alberga, who scored his third goal of the season, giving Ryerson the lead again.
With 3:11 left in the second period, Hermenegildo scored his first goal of the season after receiving a pass from Jason McDononough, while streaking in from the blue line on one knee, to give Ryerson another two goal lead going into the break.
Ottawa came out the gate hot, with Charles Power scoring at the 6:11 mark after streaking down the ice and backhanding a shot five-hole through Passingham’s legs.
With the Gee-Gees pressing, they kept the rally going by tying the game up with three minutes and eight seconds remaining in the game.
Gee-Gees defensemen, Austin Krahenbil took a two minute interference penalty with one minute and 25 seconds left in the game, to give Ryerson the momentum to potentially seal the deal.
The Rams proved they had one push left in them when Birkhoff passed it to Hermenegildo on the point to set up a slap shot that was ripped straight into the back of the net, to give Ryerson the win with only a minute and 14 seconds left in the game.
“It felt pretty good, it’s been a while, [since I’ve scored a game winner] I haven’t had that many points in a couple years actually,” said Hermenegildo.
“We battled hard, it was a little sloppy but starting the season undefeated is always nice,” said Passingham.
Ryerson will be looking to stay undefeated this week against their cross-town rival, Toronto at the Varsity Arena on Wednesday.
“It was a bit of a shootout,” said Birkhoff. “I wasn’t sure if we were playing with goalies or posts.”