By Brandon Buechler
Relief was the key word at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Saturday, as Ryerson’s women’s hockey team (6-6) won 4-2 over the Laurentian Voyageurs (1-8-3).
Head coach Lisa Haley was relieved that her team won, putting the abysmal showing in Friday’s 6-3 loss to Nipissing behind them.
The team was relieved that captain Jessica Hartwick’s nasty injury in the game against Nipissing was only bruise and not a fracture.
They were relieved that they were back at .500, and now have the most wins of any Ryerson women’s hockey team.
“That’s a great word. I am relieved,” said Haley after the game. “We’ve really struggled the last couple of games to come out ready. Today was only marginally better, but I think we found our legs sooner.”
The Rams seemed destined for a repeat of Friday’s match halfway through the first, when Voyageur’s forward Jessica Staats slipped the puck beneath the pads of Ryerson’s Ally Sarna to open up the scoring.
However, for the third game in a row, the women seemed to find energy being down in the second period.
The Rams scored a startling four goals in the period, three of which were by veteran forward Emma Rutherford — marking the first time a player has scored a hat trick in women’s team history.
“Its what we needed today, especially after yesterday,” Rutherford said, holding the teams MVP award, a battered gold-painted helmet. “It helped us win the game,”
Rutherford’s most impressive goal came with 14 minutes left in the second, four minutes after sinking her first of the game.
Set up on the blue line, Rutherford received the puck and fired a hard slap shot towards the net. The puck was clipped by one of Laurentian’s own defenders and skipped over the outstretched glove of Laurentian’s goalie.
“Emma had a heck of a game, on both sides of the puck,” Haley said. “We needed some people to step up to the forefront today, and she did that.”
Laurentian’s second goal came in the third period, scored again by Staats, who just managed again to slip the puck past Sarna.
“I think she’d (Sarna) like to have that first goal back,” Haley said. “That being said, she comes as advertised. She’s a steady goalie who’s going to give us some solid minutes.”
As for the team’s captain Hartwick, Haley said they’re really excited about the prognosis.
The team’s original thought was that Hartwick had broken her arm, courtesy of a slash to the wrist by Nipissing Laker Brooklyn Irwin in Friday’s loss.
However X-rays showed no structural damage to Hartwick’s arm and she was diagnosed with just a bruise.
“It’s bruised pretty badly, but a bruise is something you can cover up and play with,” Haley said. “We’re lucky.”
The team’s next game comes against York University, when the Lions host the Rams at Canlan Ice Sports arena. The puck drops on Nov. 30 at 2 p.m.