By Brandon Buechler
Hockey is a game of 60 minutes.
Following a frustrating 3-2 loss to the Western Mustangs on Saturday night, Ryerson’s women’s hockey team’s head coach Lisa Haley said her team hasn’t truly played a full game yet this season.
“We haven’t put a full 60 minutes together yet,” said Haley. “We’re still trying to get three periods in a row where we’re happy with our performance.”
Playing at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the Rams—who now have four wins and two losses on the year—exploded out of the gate against the Mustangs (5-2), the same team that handed them their first loss of the season a week earlier.
Led by Madison Lalonde, who put up an unassisted goal in the second minute of play, the Rams dominated the Mustangs defense, who for much of the game looked utterly overmatched.
“[Olivia Giardetti] went really hard in the corner, she won that battle and made a good play to Lauren Nicholson,” Lalonde said of the goal. “She found me in the slot, and I got lucky.”
Lalonde’s marker was promptly followed by first-year forward Brooklyn Gemmill’s first career goal for Ryerson, giving them a 2-0 lead on a power play.
Much of the first period was spent behind Western’s blue line, and it ended with Ryerson tallying 15 shots to Western’s three.
The 2-0 lead didn’t last though, as the Rams began to noticeably run out of steam in the second.
Ryerson spent far more time in its own half of the ice fighting off a reawakened Mustangs’ offence, before allowing a power play goal to Western’s April Clark in the third period.
Six minutes later, Shana Alexander tied the game, giving Western a chance at beating Ryerson once again.
In a three-on-three sudden-death overtime period, Clark scored her second goal of the night to seal Ryerson’s loss, finding a way to beat Rachel Seeley, Ryerson’s normally solid goaltender.
“I think that’s Western’s experience showing through,” said Haley. “They believed that they could come back in the game and we believed the game was over, even if we don’t want to admit it.”
Despite the tough loss, the Rams have easily had one of their best starts to a season in recent memory, and Haley says her squad is looking to build on it.
“We’ve had some success, which is great, but I think we need to narrow in on why that’s working,” she said. “For us, it’s just keeping our focus narrow and keeping our confidence high.”
Up Next: Ryerson faces the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (4-1) on Thursday, visiting their crosstown rivals at Varsity Arena.