By Sports Staff
Ryerson’s women’s hockey program’s most successful season ever came to an end Sunday night when the Nipissing Lakers defeated the Rams 3-0 in the McCaw Cup quarter-finals.
The Lakers scored two goals in the first period, and for the rest of the game, head coach Lisa Haley’s Rams did their best to climb back and keep their season alive.
But when the Lakers’ Sam Strassburger scored a power-play goal midway through the third period to extend their lead to three, Ryerson’s outcome began to appear bleak. In the third, the Rams were truly fighting for their season, and they outshot the Lakers 10-4 in the frame.
If there was something that took the wind out of Ryerson’s sails, it was their failure to convert on the power-play. In five opportunities with an extra player on the ice, including three in the third period alone, the Rams were unable to find the back of the net, while the Lakers managed to go 2-7 on the power-play.
After opening the series with a 4-2 win on Feb. 21, the Rams’ offense fell flat. In Game 2, on Feb. 23, Nipissing shut Ryerson out 3-0, and on Sunday night, the result was the same. During the regular season, the Rams hadn’t been shut out twice in a row.
Ultimately, Nipissing goalie Danika Ranger’s entry into the starting line-up proved a turning point for the Lakers. After veteran tender Jacqueline Rochefort struggled in the first game, Ranger, a rookie, stepped in and proceeded to stop all 39 shots she faced from the Rams in Games 2 and 3.
Regardless of the outcome, the Rams program saw a remarkable turnaround this season as compared to the last six. Between 2011 and 2017, Ryerson averaged an 11th place finish in the OUA standings. This year, the team finished fifth.
Ryerson also earned its first-ever women’s hockey playoff win against Nipissing, who finished second in the 2017 McCaw Cup.