By Hayden Godfrey
As the University of New Brunswick (UNB) Varsity Reds marched onto the ice to face off against the hometown Ryerson Rams, perhaps only one word could be used to describe the atmosphere inside the Mattamy Athletic Centre: exhilarating.
Donning Rams blue and gold, while passionately cheering on their team, Ryerson supporters were out in full force for the team’s “Back to School Bash.” Despite the abundance of crowd support, the Rams were shutout 3-0 by the Reds in a hard fought battle of skill and speed.
“It’s too bad that we couldn’t get one to really let the place erupt,” said Rams goalie Taylor Dupuis following the game. “There was a bit of nerves to get out. We feed off that energy.”
Though the Rams were kept off the scoresheet, they managed to keep up with the determined and steady V-Reds in physicality and agility, keeping it close throughout the first two periods. Dupuis was also stellar, stopping an onslaught of Reds attacks in and around the slot.
“This is something we’ve come to expect from [Dupuis],” said Rams head coach Johnny Duco after the game. “He gave us a chance to win.”
The Reds scored twice in the second and once in the third. The second goal—which was particularly frustrating for members of the Ryerson defence—featured a messy group of forwards crashing the net, eventually potting a wrist shot in just above Dupuis’ left pad. Overall, the fourth-year RTA Sport Media student made 35 saves, with 14 of them coming in a crucial second period. UNB got goals courtesy of forwards Alexandre Goulet, Mark Rassell and Stephen Anderson.
The Reds, one of the top programs in the country, were tested admirably by an aggressive and skillful Rams offence. Rookie wingers Hayden McCool and Patrick Fellows added scoring chances thanks to slick passing and solid neutral zone coverage, but were unable to convert.
“The gap’s not huge” noted Duco. “It’s not insurmountable”.
UP NEXT: The Rams will once again host the UNB Varsity Reds on Saturday Sept. 22, at the MAC. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.