By Michael Musalem
The Ryerson women’s hockey team (5-4-0) beat the Windsor Lancers (6-2-1) 3-1 Saturday to extend their win streak to four games. The win marked the team’s first win against Windsor ever and the first time their record is over .500 since the 2012-13 season.
After leading in the shots department for most of the first, the Rams found themselves hemmed into their own zone for the majority of the frame’s final five minutes. That is until a loose puck was kicked into the neutral zone resulting in a partial break for Ryerson’s Sarah McGilvray.
After putting an inside-out move on a Windsor defender, the winger took the puck hard to the front of the net, stamping her goal-of-the-year submission with a picturesque finish over goaltender Marissa Kozovski’s glove hand. McGilvray commented on her team’s recent success post-game.
“I think we’re doing a really good job working together,” she said. “We’re relying on each other a lot. I know Lisa’s worked a lot with us everyday in practice just on teamwork and I think we’re definitely coming together. We’re more of a family everyday”
From that point on Ryerson looked quite sound holding onto the slim lead. For good chunks of the game the Lancers were unable to establish their down-low game, resulting in a more wide–open, skating-heavy type of game.
This was working in the Rams’ favour up until midway through the third, when a knuckle-puck of sorts found its’ way through Ryerson goaltender Alex Armstrong’s five-hole. It was the first and only mistake Armstrong would make on the day, as she made 36 saves en route to the best individual performance of the contest for Ryerson.
“It’s great to win. It’s great to win as a team too,” said Armstrong after securing the triumph.
It wasn’t all blue skies for the goalie on Sunday, however, as Armstrong suffered an injury scare in the dying moments of the second period on a Windsor fore-check gone wrong. Though she admits it was a scare, she didn’t seem any worse for wear following the game.
After Windsor evened up the score, it took just over four minutes for the Rams to re-take the lead. Ryerson forward Melissa Wronzberg threw the puck at the net on an odd-man rush, deflecting into the back of the cage. And after some desperation on behalf of the Lancers, Wronzberg took aim once again at a now-empty Windsor net from beyond the red line, resulting in her second goal of the day and guaranteed victory for Ryerson in the game’s final seconds.
The win moves the Rams into seventh place in the OUA standings, and perhaps more importantly, keeps the teams’ recently gained momentum alive. Ryerson head coach Lisa Haley touched on their current run of success after the game, and how important keeping up this momentum is.
“It’s easier to continue to win than it is to try and find a way to win when you’ve been losing,” Haley said. “I think we’ve taken advantage of some great exhibition games and learned some early lessons in those losses at the beginning of the season.”
The Rams are right back at it on Sunday with the Western Mustangs in town and Haley said it’s important to get come out ready in the second leg of the back-to-back.
“Western’s a different team than Windsor,” she said. “We try to have a game plan against every single opponent. We’ve focused all week on making sure we’re ready for Windsor, so it’ll be a busy 24-hours for us now as a coaching staff to have that game plan ready for Western.”