By Hayden Godfrey
Inside an electric Mattamy Athletic Centre on Jan. 19 for Ryerson’s annual Winter Homecoming (WOCO) event, the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team narrowly beat out division rival York Lions by a score of 7-6 in an intense and physical contest.
After an uneventful first 18 minutes, the Rams—who’d been outshooting the Lions 14 to four at that point—finally broke out when first-year forward Patrick Fellows elegantly deked around York goalie Mack Shields for his eighth of the season.
Early in the second, the Rams extended their lead when new defencemen Connor Schlichting, playing uncharacteristically high in the slot, buried a Steve Harland pass to give his team the 2-0 edge.
“I was a little surprised to find myself there, but it worked out,” said Schlichting, who joined the Rams last December.
The Lions answered minutes later with a goal off of the stick of Reid Jackman, and evened the score minutes later when Jackman found the back of the net once again, bringing his season total to 12.
“Finding a way to beat [York] is always important,” said Rams head coach Johnny Duco. “It wasn’t pretty, but kudos to the guys for sticking with it.“
Mathew Santos got one right back for the Rams less than three minutes later, going top corner on Shields for his 17th goal of the season. Right on cue, the Lions responded with 17.6 seconds remaining in the frame to tie things up at three apiece.
Ryerson’s Cavin Leth, who’d previously been knocked down in a scary play during an intense puck battle, once again gave the Rams the lead with his sixth of the year. With almost metronomic precision, the Lions got one back just six seconds later, when forward Scott Feser snuck one under the pads of Rams goaltender Troy Timpano.
Striking once again, Fellows picked up his second goal of the game to give Ryerson the 5-4 lead with 13 minutes to play. With some insurance from Jesse Barwell and Jared Walsh, the Rams earned a hard-fought victory to improve their record to 15-5-2.
Also in attendance was Harrison Browne, an ambassador for the You Can Play project, as the Rams showcased their partnership as You Can Play Ryerson. Browne, who played NCAA and NWHL hockey from 2011 to 2018, told The Eye that the support that the organization has been getting from NHL players is key to their success going forward.
He also adds that anyone struggling with inclusivity in sports should “be [themselves] and not be afraid to ask for help, people will support you.”
UP NEXT: The Rams travel to Western on Friday, January 25th to face off against the Mustangs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.