By Harlan Nemerofsky
One day after being eliminated from Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) title contention, the Ryerson Rams lost in the consolation bracket semi-final on Friday to the Saskatchewan Huskies 3-2, after Scott Myra scored the winner in penalty kicks.
“Saskatchewan is a good team and with penalty kicks it’s a coin flip,” said associate coach Filip Prostran. “We had the lead twice, so it’s a little disappointing.”
Playing in his final game in CIS due to graduation, Ryerson’s Alex Braletic scored to put the Rams up 2-1 early in the second half, but is was all for naught. Huskies midfielder Ryan Contetit knotted the game with seven minutes left in regulation to push the game to penalty kicks.
The Huskies won the shootout 4-3.
“Because the game meant nothing, I was okay with it [going straight to penalty kicks],” said Prostran. “I’ve been here four years, and three times we’ve lost (to end our season) in penalty shots. It’s not our thing.”
Saskatchewan keeper Michal Bandula stopped eight of 10 shots while Maraldo sent aside four for the Rams.
In addition to Braletic, Viktor Anastasov, Michael Jan, Luke Jan, Sebastian Novais, Armin Tankovic and Jacob O’Connor played their final career games in the CIS.
“You know what? This has been the greatest experience of my life, and I’m so happy I was able to share it with the guys that I did,” said Bralteic, who was awarded the CIS MVP just days earlier — the first in Ryerson history. “I made friends – I made family here. It means so much to me, and this is an experience that I will never, never forget.”
But just because his playing days are over at CIS level, Braletic wants to stay with the Rams coaching staff.
“I will be a water boy for this team if that’s what I have to do. I’m a Ram forever and will do whatever I can to help these guys,” said the fifth-year Thornhill, Ont., native.
Michael Velasquez also scored for the Rams, who lost their third straight game after going undefeated in their previous 16.
Though, the Rams season ended with nothing to show for in CIS Championships, forward Amin Tankovic says his team has leaned a lot.
“It’s been nice to see the program grow over the last five years. We were nowhere, we weren’t even ranked. And then we started competing in [OUA] Final Four, and then we took the next step [this year] to compete for a national title,” said Tankovic.
“I try to think of it as the body of work and not just the last game,” he said. “Undefeated in the regular season, CIS player of the year, Ivan [Joseph] as [OUA] coach of the year, all these OUA all-stars… there’s a lot of positives to take from it, rather than just dwelling on yesterday’s loss.
“The guy’s did extremely well taking the program where it’s never been before. We’ll look to build on that.”