By: Robert Foreman
Shutting last year’s defending champions on Thursday’s 5-1 win over the Guelph Gryphons was a solid way for the Rams to bounce back from a loss last Saturday.
With a strongly cohesive offense and the six-foot-five goalie Troy Passingham not letting anything through, the Rams showed one of their strongest performances of 2016, so far.
A total of five goals scored by the Rams, with a strong contribution from Mitch Gallant who finished the game with a hat trick.
“I thought I kinda struggled a bit along the boards and in my own end a bit tonight,” said Gallant. “But just one of those nights where offensively you shoot pucks in the net and good things happen.”
While Gallant dominated the scoreboard, the first goal was scored by Lucas Froese off of an assist by Alex Basso and Luke Mercer, just over four minutes into the game.
Almost ten minutes later, in a back and forth skirmish between the two teams, Gallant scored his first goal of the night, capitalizing on a power play and the help of two of his teammates.
“[The first goal] was a good passing play by [Vince Figliomeni] and [Marcus Hinds], that was a really nice play, so I just kinda finished it off and put it in the net,” he said.
Gallants next goals partially the result of a switch up in the Gryphon’s roster.
At the beginning of the second, veteran goalie for the Gryphons got clipped by Aaron Armstrong of the Rams and had to leave the game with an injury. Keith Hamilton who was joining the game half way through, with only a brief warm-up under his belt, replaced him.
“Coming in half way through like that is never easy,” said Passingham. “It’s hard to get focused when you’re not supposed to be playing, I think Hamilton did a pretty good job coming in there, it’s obviously tough.”
The Rams took advantage of the replacement goalie within minutes as Gallant scored his second goal and the third goal of the night.
As the rest of the second period saw a more aggressive Gryphon offense, evening up the shots on goal, which had been dominated strongly by the Rams, there only goal to be scored was by Mitch Gallant yet again.
On a penalty shot, Gallant put the moves on the Gryphon’s goalie and slipped the puck through the five-hole, adding a fourth goal to the board.
“I guess looking back, it probably should’ve been top corner too, it was probably a little bit more open, but I was glad it snuck in there,” said Gallant.
By the end of the game, the Gryphons tried to put the pressure on Passingham with 14 shots on goal in the final period, but they were held back until Marcus Hinds found the net for the first time as a Ram, thus sealing the fate of the game.
Head coach Graham Wise was happy with the teams performance but wants to stay critical so that the team does not get cocky in the weeks to come.
“If you look at the shots on goal and possession of play, give Guelph credit,” he said. “We now have four games [left] I think we gotta establish our team that we’re gonna roll into the playoffs with.”