By: Daniel Morand
A stellar 27-save performance from Rams’ (5-12-0) goaltender Alex Armstrong was not enough to defeat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (12-4-1) in a 2-0 loss at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Saturday night.
The Varsity Blues scored their 1-0 lead six minutes before the end of the second period when forward Jacqueline Scheffell redirected a shot from Sonja Weidenfelder while on a powerplay — ultimately proving to be the game winning shot.
It was Armstrong’s first start since November 3, but the rookie goaltender made key saves that kept the Rams within striking distance.
“Tonight she showed that she’s capable and wants that number one role,” teammate Melissa Wronzberg said.
But the third place Varsity Blues had a great player in their net too. The Rams’ 23 shots on goal were turned away by goaltender Nicole Kesteris. This season, the starting Toronto goaltender is riding an incredible .951 save percentage in thirteen games and Saturday’s game was her fifth shutout.
Yet, the Rams’ inability to take control of the four powerplay opportunities they had was head coach Pierre Alain’s biggest concern.
“To be honest we were better before Christmas on the powerplay,” Alain said. “We still need to work on it.”
The most critical Rams’ powerplay came in the final minutes of the game when Ragan Danford served a penalty for charging. The Varsity Blues held off multiple scoring chances from the Rams before Weidenfelder scored on the empty net and crushed any hope of a comeback.
The Rams are five points away from a playoff spot with only seven games left in the season. But, Alain is not ready to give up.
“You never know,” said Alain. “We’ll see on February 8 at 4:30.”
The Rams continue their quest for playoff qualification on January 17 at Laurier University.