By Daniel Morand
They say all good things come to an end.
When the Rams (9-5) snapped a four game win streak on Friday night, the club may have found solace in the fact that it was against last year’s OUA champions.
UQTR (10-4) fed the Rams a sour dose of déjà vu in a 5-1 romp at the Mattamy Athletic Centre—over the past two seasons they have ousted Ryerson in the OUA East playoffs.
A soft first period showing cost the Rams a 4-0 deficit and gave the team little chance of fighting back against a strong UQTR squad.
Marc-Olivier Mimar made the best of a Rams defensive zone turnover in the opening minutes of the game as he fired a wrist shot over goaltender Adam Couchaine’s shoulder.
Intensity between benches ramped up when Rams defenceman Dean Willmott body checked UQTR captain Tommy Tremblay in open ice. As Tremblay laid motionless near centre ice, Patriotes head coach Marc-Etienne Hubert was screaming at the Rams for what he thought was a dirty play.
“We don’t want to see those kinds of hits on the ice because it’s really dangerous for concussions, and our players. If some of my players did that, I would not tolerate it,” said Hubert after the game. “I watched it again on the tape, it was dirty, my player did not have the puck.”
The questionable hit gave UQTR enough fire to light the lamp three times within the next six minutes. This forced Rams coach Graham Wise to pull Courchaine and put Troy Passingham in the net with five minutes left in the first period.
When Pierre-Olivier Morin extended UQTR’s lead in the early minutes of the second period, he put the proverbial ‘nail in the coffin’ for any hope of a Rams comeback.
Morin took advantage of a Rams turnover in his own zone and made no mistake on the breakaway when he beat Passingham with a paralyzing dangle.
That would be the only goal Passingham allowed, saving the remaining 26 shots of the night.
“When I go in there I just got to do my job and try to keep the team in it as long as possible,” said Passingham. “It’s always tough to come in cold but I thought I did a pretty good job of stabilizing what we were doing out there.”
Rams forward Jason Kelly softened the sing of a poor Rams outing by ending Marc-Antoine Gelinas’ shutout with two minutes left in the game. Despite having little impact on the final result, the marker was Kelly’s first goal of the season.
The Rams have one game left before the break and are content with their fourth place position in the OUA West division. The Rams will play 13 games in the second half of the season against divisional rivals in the OUA West.
“Hopefully we go out on a winning note tomorrow,” said Head Coach Graham Wise. “For us to be battling for top 4 spot is really something that’s terrific. You got to give credit to the players in the room that have worked hard every practice.”
The Rams will play Concordia on Saturday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre to close out the first half of the season.