By Josh Beneteau
The Ryerson women’s hockey team is still looking for its first win of the season after a 2-0 loss to the Queen’s Gaels at home Saturday afternoon. The loss pushes the Rams record to 0-3-1 to start the season, while Queen’s moves to 3-1.
The opening frame saw Queen’s control most of the play, but neither team getting a ton of quality chances. Most of the offence for both teams came from point shots into a crowd of players that either resulted in the puck going to the corner or trickle slowly to the goalie.
It looked like the Rams were going to escape the first with a scoreless draw but with 30 seconds left, Queen’s got on the board. Courtenay Jacklin jumped on a pass from Taryn Pillon behind the net and fired a hard wristshot along the ice an through Ally Sarna’s legs and in.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” captain Jessica Hartwick said of the slow start to the season. “But we made the point of saying that the hockey gods are not on our side but we’d rather them not be on our side right now as opposed to at the end of the season.”
In the second period the game opened up with both teams getting odd-man rushes. Ryerson had multiple two-on-ones led by forwards Emma Rutherford and Alyssa Connolly but the shots missed wide. And the ones that were on net were easily handled by Queen’s goalie Caitlyn Lahonen, who made 30 saves for the shutouts.
Queen’s responded with their own rushes and chances with Sarna being counted on to make some big pad save and multiple chances off rebounds. Sarna finished the game with 24 saves her eye for the puck was the only reason Queen’s didn’t score more in the game.
In the third, the Rams were two seconds away from killing Hartwick’s interference penalty when Queen’s doubled their lead. Pillon stood right on the edge of the crease and jammed a rebound past Sarna.
But Queen’s quickly got into penalty trouble to put Ryerson on a long 5-on-3. The Rams called timeout then pulled Sarna with eight minutes left in the game to give themselves a three-man advantage. But countless blocked shots from the Gaels kept the Rams from capitalizing on the large advantage.
“Queen’s did a really good job of getting in the lanes,” Hartwick said. “So we need to improve is making sure that we’re moving the puck around them and getting the puck through.”
With the goalie pulled in the final minute, Ryerson swarmed the net but couldn’t get anything past Lahonen. Queen’s did a good job of clearing the way so Lahonen could see the puck and get a pad or glove on every chance Ryerson had.
“The only thing we didn’t put out there was the kitchen sink,” Ryerson head coach Lisa Haley said. “The goaltender for Queen’s made some good save but you have to feel that if we’re getting chances like that it’s just a matter of time.”
Haley also said it’s important the team doesn’t get too frustrated with the slow start to the season. And she’s confident that if they stick to their game plan, the wins will come.
“Obviously the longer it continues the more pressure you feel,” she said. “But I think what’s important is for us to focus on process and performance.”
The Rams next take the ice on Oct. 24 when they visit the Western Mustangs.