By Josh Beneteau
The Ryerson women’s hockey team (2-5) beat the University of Toronto (U of T) Varsity Blues 4-3 Friday. The win marked the first time in the four-year history of the Ryerson program that they had beaten U of T in regulation — a nationally ranked team. They did beat the Blues 2-1 in a shootout Oct. 5, 2012.
The Rams got on the board first, near the mid-point of the first period. Emma Rutherford picked up a pass in the slot from Kayla Karbonik and picked the high glove corner on U of T goalie Nicole Kesteris.
Then, with less than two minutes to go in the period, Michelle Evagelou tipped home a Stephanie Chiste point shot to give the Rams a two-goal lead. It was also Ryerson’s first powerplay goal of the season and first of three in the game on the man-advantage.
“We’ve put so much time and effort into our special teams, specifically the power play,” head coach Lisa Haley said. “So for us to get three was the difference in the game.”
U of T got on the board early in the second when Autumn Garnham deflected a shot past Ryerson goalie Alex Armstrong.
But Ryerson responded less than three minutes later when Jessica Hartwick’s one-timer found its way past a sea of bodies and into the net. That goal came when Ryerson was on a 5-on-3 powerplay.
“We’ve practiced certain plays (for 5-on-3) and I think we just executed those plays really well,” Hartwick said. “It’s always fun playing U of T, especially when we have a good game like that, so to be able to come away with the two points is huge.”
Ryerson scored again before the second penalty was over to go up 4-1. Emily Marks crashed the net just as Kesteris tried to clear the puck from her crease. The puck hit Marks and bounced over the goalie and in for an unassisted goal.
After two periods Ryerson had outshot U of T 24-14 and looked in complete control. But in the third, the Varsity Blues came storming back, firing 19 shots on Armstrong and scoring two goals.
While Ryerson was able to hold on for the 4-3 win, Haley said Ryerson could learn something from the experienced U of T team.
“U of T is a very experienced program and they’ve been in that situation many times,” she said. “That was not a situation we had been in many times, up 4-1 in the third period, so I think they relied heavily on their experience and it’s a great lesson for us to know we can close out a game like that.”
The game was played at 11 a.m. and was part of a joint partnership between U of T and Ryerson called the Downtown Showdown. The program sees each team host one game a year, men’s and women’s, that is played in front of local school groups.
Ryerson’s next game is Saturday Nov. 8 when they travel to Waterloo to play the Warriors.
A previous version of this story said that this game was Ryerson’s first win against U of T. It was the second time they had won.