By Kintaro Skinner
Despite a tremendous last-minute surge from Ryerson, the York Lions found a way to get the job done, handing the Rams a 3-2 loss at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Friday night.
“It’s different from what we’re used to but it was great to get all of that support and its good for our team. Guys get up for this type of game and it was really exciting,” said Ryerson captain Alex Basso post-game.
It was York, however, that pulled through the homecoming chaos, as a goal from forward Colton Vannucci in the late stages of the third period gave the Lions a lead they wouldn’t squander. It was a wacky game for the Rams as a whole, as they struggled mightily to keep up with the Lions’ fast pace in the first period—feeding off their fans that made the short trip down to the MAC.
“We were sloppy, we were sluggish and almost didn’t respect our opponent for the first 20 minutes,” Ryerson coach Johnny Duco said.
An early goal from Josh LaFrance gave the Lions’ fans a lot to cheer about as they took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Rams’ sloppy play continued in the second, as Ryerson constantly found itself out-hustled and outworked throughout the frame. A slew of turnovers led to multiple three-on-two rushes for the Lions, and a strange bounce off a shot from Stefano Pezzetta gave York a 2-0 second period lead.
York’s Scott Feser took a hooking penalty late in the second period, which finally gave the Rams an opportunity to shore up their woes. An end to end rush from Alex Basso gave the Rams their first goal of the game and cut the Lions’ lead in half, 2-1.
“It’s always good to score on the power play as we were struggling a bit there at the beginning of it, so to get back within one goal was good for our team,” said Basso on his second period goal.
Ryerson opened the third period with a flurry of great scoring opportunities and crowd-pleasing hits, which eventually led to another penalty and the lead off another powerplay goal from Basso on a slap shot from the point to even up the game at two. Forward Vince Figliomeni had a golden opportunity for the Rams in front with a wide open net, but he’d broken his stick on a previous play, causing him to miss on the shot.
Moments later, Vannucci scored the game winning goal for the Lions and the Rams weren’t able to pot the equalizer in the dying seconds.
“We started moving our feet and we did a lot of good things tonight but if you don’t play a full 60 minutes, you’re going to come up short.” Duco said on the Rams inconsistent play.
The Rams currently sit third in the OUA West after tonight’s matchup and will look to improve on their 13-6-2 record tomorrow in the second game of their back-to-back.
UP NEXT: The Rams will take on the the Toronto Varsity Blues on Jan. 20 in their next contest at Varsity Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.