By Daniel Rocchi
Ryerson’s women’s hockey team rallied to defeat the Waterloo Warriors 3-2 in overtime Thursday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Melissa Wronzberg scored the game-winning goal for the Rams (4-6-0), while Emily Rose Galliani Pecchia and team captain Nella Brodett also scored in a 19-save effort for goaltender Emma Crawley.
“I liked the way we battled back,” said interim head coach Pierre Alain, who is running the Rams bench while Lisa Haley is on leave with Team Canada. “Down a goal in the third and tied [the] game and then we just kept battling.”
Ryerson found themselves in trouble early in the first period, turning the puck over multiple times and struggling to get out of their own end in the game’s opening minutes.
But it was the Rams that struck first.
In the dying seconds of a period that saw a combined total of seven shots, Brodett rushed the puck into the offensive zone with the Rams on the penalty kill.
She was quickly swarmed by four Warriors, but managed to poke the puck forward to Galliani Pecchia, who netted it for a shorthanded goal and a 1-0 Ryerson lead after 20 minutes of play.
Waterloo answered quickly in the second when Kelly Toms managed to find the puck in her skates and beat Crawley low blocker-side to tie it just over five and a half minutes into the frame.
Waterloo goaltender Rebecca Bouwhuis made several key saves to keep Ryerson at bay until, with less than three minutes left in the period, the Warriors poked a loose puck through Crawley’s five-hole to give Waterloo a 2-1 edge to start the third.
The Warriors thought they had extended their lead in the first minute and a half of the third period when they jammed in a loose puck during a scrum in front of the net, but the goal was waved off.
Less than four minutes later, at the other end of the ice, Brodett found the puck in scramble atop the crease and buried it to tie the game at two apiece.
The Rams caught a break in the final two and half minutes of regulation when the puck appeared to enter the Ryerson net. But the referee did not stop play, nor signal a goal, though the Warriors celebrated what they thought was the go-ahead goal.
In four-on-four overtime, the Rams dictated the pace and maintained strong offensive pressure before Wronzerg pounced on a rebound to secure the win with a minute and 34 seconds left in the extra frame.
“We felt like we were getting good chances and being very persistent,” said Wronzberg. “We were tiring out the goalie, so we just wanted to keep doing that, keep playing our game, and not back off.”
It was an important victory for the Rams, who were coming off a 7-1 loss to Queen’s University.
“It was a tough loss against Queen’s and we just had to regroup and forget about it,” said Brodett. “We knew that Waterloo was definitely a team that we could come out and compete with and beat, so this game we had the focus and the drive and we came out with the win.”
The Rams currently sit at ninth place in Ontario University Athletics standings, and face a tough test in their next game against third-place Laurier.
“Laurier’s a fast, good puck-moving team,” said Wronzberg. “We’re just going to have to make sure we play smart and make sure we’re playing [defensive] zone first, and capitalize on the chances we get.”
The Rams face off against the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.