By Brandon Buechler
The following photos are by Jess Tsang and Marissa Tiel:
The Ryerson men’s hockey team (12-10-1) defeated the Lakehead Thunderwolves (8-13-2) 5-4 on Saturday, ending the Rams’ short — but painful — two game slide.
“It’s a big, big win for us,” said Rams head coach Graham Wise after the game. “In the west [division] everyone is bunched up, so it was important to get those points.”
The victory came without the team’s second-highest scorer, Mitch Gallant, who was scratched from the line-up with an ankle injury but hopes to return next week.
The first period was slow, with the Rams and Thunderwolves both getting a pair of early scoring opportunities, only to have them bounce off the posts.
The scoring did begin in the first however, as Lakehead’s David Quesnele found the back of the net, flipping the puck over a sprawling Troy Passingham.
The second period featured quite a bit of back-and-forth play and it looked as if Passingham’s struggles from the past few games were continuing.
The Thunderwolves doubled up to begin the second, making it 2-0, but Ryerson’s Daniel Clairmont responded quickly by sinking his first goal of the night with 17 minutes in the second.
Four minutes later, the Thunderwolves gave themselves a seemingly sturdy 3-1 lead over the Rams, when E.J. Faust fired a hard shot over Passingham’s right shoulder.
The lead was not so sturdy though, as by the end of the second period Andreas Tsogkas and Kyle Blaney brought the game tied to three a piece.
In the third period, Clairmont scored his second goal of the contest on a Ryerson power play and gave his team a 4-3 lead, their first lead of the game.
Clairmont attributed part of his success to the return of his line-mate Blaney.
“We had a connection early on in the year and when he was out for a few weeks, I was finding I wasn’t scoring many goals,” Clairmont said. “So it’s great to have him back.”
The Rams would need Clairmont’s goal as Lakehead returned the favour nine minutes later, tying the game 4-4.
With just barely two minutes left to play, the Rams were facing overtime when Alex Basso, assisted by captain Michael Fine and Mark Corbett, shot a screaming line drive from the blue line into Lakehead’s net to send Ryerson’s fans home happy.
The Rams have five games left in their regular season. They will be back on the ice Tuesday against the University of Toronto. The puck drops at 11 a.m. at Toronto’s Varsity Arena.