By Matt Collins
Matt Mistele scored the opening goal of the game in the second period, but Justice Dundas and Mike Christou both scored and Blake Richard made 32 saves as the sixth-seeded Windsor Lancers upset the top-seeded Ryerson men’s hockey team with a 3-1 win in game two of the OUA West semi-finals to end Ryerson’s season on Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
After a scoreless first period, a Matt Mistele tip-in early in the second period gave the Rams a 1-0 lead. But that would be all the offence that Ryerson was able to muster, as Windsor would tie the game a few minutes later before taking the lead for good with a goal in the opening minute of the third period. The Lancers would add an empty-netter for insurance.
The Rams outshot the Lancers 33-26, but Windsor goaltender Blake Richard was a force to be reckoned with right from the puck drop. Despite countless barrages of offence from Ryerson, the home team couldn’t crack Richard and the Lancers defence.
The Rams had come into the series after beating the eighth-seeded Waterloo Warriors in a hard-fought three-game series. The Warriors took Ryerson to a decisive game three after the Rams coughed up a three-goal lead and lost game two in overtime. The Lancers, meanwhile, were fresh off a first-round upset of the third-seeded Laurier Golden Hawks, a team that came into the playoffs riding a five-game winning streak.
Saturday’s loss was also the final game for Ryerson captain Michael Fine, who has proven himself to be one of the best hockey players ever to sport a Ryerson jersey—he retires as the all-time points leader in men’s hockey history. After the game, he reflected on the team moving forward without him:
“We just have to remember that you learn from these situations, these young guys will be better for it,” he said. “We got a good team here going forward, and I got all the confidence in the world that these guys will bounce back next year.”
Ryerson was coming off the most successful regular season in team history. The team set a program record for wins with an OUA-best 22-4-2 record, led the OUA in goals scored, and had a 16-1 record on home ice through the regular season and first round of the playoffs.
The Lancers will face the second-seeded York Lions in the OUA West finals. The series starts on Wednesday, March 1 in Windsor.