By Pamela Johnston
The evolution of the Ryerson women’s hockey team was on display in their season finale against Queen’s University, Saturday. The Rams held the No. 5 ranked Gaels to a 2-2 score for the first two periods at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, but fell short in the third — resulting in a 4-2 loss.
The last time the two teams met was Nov. 10 in Kingston and the Gaels dominated in a 7-1 victory. But this time the Rams prepared to leave everything on the ice.
Rams’ Janella “Nella” Brodett scored with only 29 seconds off the clock. It was the first shot of the first shift, which put the “cherry on top” for the senior forward in her last game as a Ram.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Brodett said of her fifth goal of the season. “It wasn’t real life let me tell you, it was surreal. I remember going along the bench and just had the biggest smile on my face.”
The Gaels’ Shawna Griffin responded three minutes later and another shot to the top corner from Alisha Sealy put Queen’s up by one, midway through the first.
With just over a minute remaining in the period, defender Victoria Arci picked up a loose puck for a close one-on-one with the Gaels’ goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher, to sneak in the equalizing goal.
The second period consisted of questionable actions at the net for both teams, but remained goalless.
Rams’ starting goaltender, Emma Crawley, faced 38 shots before her opponents put away a rebound four minutes into the final period to lead the game 3-2. An empty-netter would seal the Gaels’ victory with 4.5 seconds remaining.
“I think we battled well and for the most part we kept them to the outside,” Crawley said. “A lot of their shots weren’t even that challenging.”
The Rams came out with more energy than the previous time they faced Queen’s – who they generally always meet at the end of their season.
“I would tell you it’s just showing how this team has improved,” said interim head coach Pierre Alain.
When he joined the Rams in August to step into the head coach position for Lisa Haley while she served as an assistant coach for Team Canada, he told the girls that they were going to have a great experience of learning together.
“Doesn’t matter, the highs and lows, we’re going to be different persons,” he said. This interim year for Alain was one of his “best ever” lifetime experiences.
For Brodett, her final game was bitter sweet.
“In the next couple years hopefully we can beat those teams,” she said. “We kept up with a nationally ranked team and that’s all we can ask for.”
Brodett plans to come back and join the team in a different role next year to continue moving the Rams in the direction they’re going.
“I am so proud of each and every one of them. They’ve helped me grow as a player, and as a teammate, and as a human being and as a leader,” she said. “It’s been an absolute honour to lead them and I hope that I taught them something.”