By Josh Beneteau
The Ryerson women’s hockey team (10-9) gave up a late third-period goal against the Laurier Golden Hawks (11-4-3), losing 2-1 Friday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Laurier’s Laura Brooker sent a tape-to-tape pass to Danelle Im on a two-on-one for an easy tape in goal past Rams goalie Ally Sarna with 4:05 remaining in the game.
“They’re a team that knows what to expect in tight games and we’re a team still finding our way,” said Ryerson coach Lisa Haley. “For the most part we feel like we have a chance to win every game and that kind of confidence is valuable when you’re trying to build a program.”
The Rams opened the scoring with less than two minutes to go in the first period. Stephanie Ciste sent a cross-ice pass to fellow-defender Cassie Sharp who stepped into a slapshot that overpowered goalie Amanda Smith. It was Sharp’s first goal of the season.
“We were winning the battles in the corner and then were moving it back and forth well at the blueline,” Sharp said of her goal. “I just got the shot off and there was traffic in front.”
The first period was even with both teams taking 11 shots and neither side really pulling away. But in the second, Laurier stepped up the play, limiting the Rams to just two shots in the frame and tying the score near the midway point.
Brooker scored her 12th of the season for Laurier, jumping on a rebound and stuffing it into a wide-open net.
In the third Ryerson got a couple chances with Melissa Wronzberg and Alex Rodriguez both skating in and being robbed by Smith’s catching glove. Once Laurier took the lead, Ryerson had trouble keeping possession of the puck and were never able to pull Sarna and get any real chances to tie the game.
“I thought Laurier was the better team in the second period but for 40 minutes we went toe-to-toe with a perennial champion in the OUA,” Haley said. “We’ll take the positives of it, we’ll learn from it and see if we can snag some points on the road in the next couple weeks.”
The Rams have five games left in the regular season, four of them on the road. Next weekend, they travel to Western and Windsor to face the first and third place teams in the league. The following week they go north to Laurentian and Nipissing in what are must win games if they are to make the playoffs.
The team closes its season at home Feb. 12 against the York Lions.
Heading into Friday’s game, Ryerson, York and Waterloo were all tied with 20 points and for seventh place in the league. Only eight teams get into the playoffs so one of them will miss the cut.
“Western and Windsor is up next and that’s all we’re focused on,” Haley said. “The players are excited to be in this position and to get an opportunity like this.”