By Mark Stephens
- Daniel Clairmont and Michael Fine combine for five points on Seniors Night
- Fine gets 130th career point, needs two points for first all-time in Rams history
- Ryerson wins first game against Guelph since losing to the Gryphons in last year’s playoffs
Ryerson’s men’s hockey team lit up the Mattamy Athletic Centre for the last time this regular season, getting some revenge with a 5-2 win against the Guelph Gryphons on Tuesday night.
It was the first meeting between the two teams since the Gryphons eliminated Ryerson from the second round of last year’s OUA playoffs, beating the Rams 11-3 in game three of the series in Guelph.
“We didn’t end our season the way we wanted to last year,” said Ryerson captain Michael Fine. “But we answered back tonight.”
Playing in the final regular season home games of their OUA careers, Fine and fellow forward Daniel Clairmont put on a show. Clairmont extended his point streak to nine games with a two-goal performance. Fine’s goal and two assists on the evening give him 130 points as a Ram. He sits one point back of Ian Richardson for first all-time in Rams history with Ryerson’s final regular season game on Thursday.
Coming off a double-overtime loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday, the Rams were confident as ever coming into their final regular season home game; that loss gave them the single point needed to clinch first place in the OUA West and home ice advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Josh Sterk broke a 1-1 tie barely three minutes into the third period on a spin-o-rama to spark an explosive third period for Ryerson. Clairmont scored his second of the game just past the 11-and-a-half minute mark followed by John Carpino just 57 seconds later. Intense late-game pressure from the Gryphons would give the visitors their second goal of the game when Robert Lepine scored with less than 70 seconds left.
Fine scored the final home goal of his career with 11 seconds left to play, winning a race to the puck in the Guelph zone and depositing it in the empty net after the Gryphons pulled netminder Scott Stajcer. Stajcer finished with 34 saves while Rams goalie Charlie Graham made 33 stops for the win.
The Rams and Gryphons proved evenly matched in the first, trading single goals in a period highlighted by strong goaltending. The Gryphons would strike first on a quick shot by Seth Swenson near the halfway point of the frame. Clairmont beat Stajcer on the powerplay to tie the game a little over four minutes later.
Ryerson failed to build momentum off Clairmont’s tally, as Guelph opened the second with strong pressure and a quick 3-0 shot advantage. The Rams would pick up towards the end of the second frame, evening the shot clock at 25 after a scoreless second period.
UP NEXT: The Rams close out the regular season against the Gryphons in the second half of a home-and-home series on Thursday, Feb. 9 in Guelph. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.