By Ben Waldman
Ryerson’s women’s hockey team (7-7) kicked off the New Year just how it wanted to with a 3-1 victory over the UOIT Ridgebacks Thursday night.
Entering the game, Ryerson sat one game below .500, and the team knew it had to capitalize on the opportunity to gain ground on the lower tier of the standings.
The Rams benefitted from stingy defensive showings from virtually every blueliner, a welcome sight for head coach Lisa Haley.
“Our [defence] was moving the puck really well,” said Haley. “They got us out of trouble a few times.”
Among the defensive standouts were Stephanie Chiste and Kaitlyn Mullett, who were as poised on the counterattack as they were defending against the Ridgebacks’ relentless pressure.
Rookie forward Alyssa Connolly pocketed her first career Ontario University Athletics (OUA) goal in the second period, the all-important equalizer and the first of three unanswered goals by the Rams.
“It was a relief to get that one out of the way,” Connolly said with a grin. “Good start to 2015.”
Goaltender Alex Armstrong improved her personal record to 5-4-0, providing her team with a focused performance. Were it not for Armstrong’s calm net minding, the Rams could have lost the matchup, and more importantly, the two points at stake.
With the victory, Ryerson has a chance to make up ground on Nipissing, Waterloo, and York, which each sit no more than two points up on the Rams.
“Hopefully we can get a little streak going here,” said Haley optimistically. “Get into a playoff position.”
On Jan. 9, the Rams take on the 10-2 Queen’s Gaels in a crucial matchup. The second place Gaels are a formidable foe, and will test Ryerson’s character greatly.
“We’re ready to play,” assures Connolly.