By Robert Foreman
As the men’s hockey team goalie Troy Passingham returned to the ice for the first time since November 28 due to a leg injury, no one expected him to make 37 saves and accomplish his first shutout since January 19 2012.
In the 3-0 win over the Brock Badgers on Thursday, Passingham’s appearance turned a closely fought game into a one-sided victory with no puck escaping his grasp.
Head Coach Graham Wise was happy to see such a performance from a goalie – fresh off of the injured roster.
“He was just a wall back there, a huge factor for us winning this game,” he said.
With Passingham’s exemplary goaltending, came great plays from the rest of the team who were able to take advantage of having such a strong defense performance.
After a scoreless first period, the Rams increased their tempo in the second and scored a goal thanks to Jamie Lewis.
As Jason Kelly, Brandon Devlin, and Lewis all made trips to the penalty box, the Badgers failed to capitalize on any power-plays as they were unable to fire anything past the steel curtain that was Passingham.
This helped give the Rams an opportunity to score twice in the third period as Kyle Blaney scored in the first two minutes with assists from Mitch Gallant and Devlin.
Jamie Lewis scored his second goal of the night with just under 5 minutes left in the game to seal the Badgers fate.
“The team played really well and that helped, but It was good to get the shut out. I didn’t think, obviously, it was going to go that well,” said Passingham.
His two-month-long road to recovery left him anxious to get back on the ice, but Passingham used his time off to make this best of the situation. Time spent rehabilitating his injury and practicing had paid off once he returned to the ice.
“It kind of helped that we had a good break, it helped me get back [faster]” he said. “I’m even stronger now, I think, so it’s kind of helped me in a way.”
While Passingham was on the injured roster, first year David Dupuis filled his shoes.
With a 3-3 record while he’s been gone, Dupuis has proven himself as a solid goaltender to fall back on.
“He’s been great, it’s good to have to good goalies and we’re gonna need it going forward, so it’s good that he’s there for us,” said Passingham.
But as both goalies have been able to produce for the team, Thursday’s performance has shown Rams hockey fans Passingham’s place on the team.
Wise said that Passingham is sure to start Saturday night against Windsor.
The Rams were four points ahead of the Badgers in the standings before Thursday night’s game but with this win they now have two more points on their season.
Wise said that every win from this point forward is going to be huge.
“I mean it’s a four point game,” he said. “It’s so close, you can see. There’s Brock who only has six wins, but could very easily have 12 wins, that’s how close this division is, so you gotta be prepared.