By Hayden Godfrey
With their backs against the wall, the Ryerson Rams, playing in Guelph for Game two of the second round of the OUA Queen’s Cup playoffs, barely managed to down the Gryphons in overtime by a score of 6-5 on Feb. 23.
While it wasn’t pretty, the Rams now will live another day, forcing the series back to the Mattamy Athletic Centre Sunday night for a winner-takes-all Game 3.
Though Guelph managed to jump out to an early lead, Ryerson quickly answered minutes later when Jesse Barwell fed Patrick Fellows a perfect cross-ice pass, which he promptly deposited into the Gryphons’ net.
After putting up 13 shots in the first period (more than half of their Game one total), Rams forward Matt Mistele, streaking into the high slot, took advantage of a power play and managed to beat Guelph goalie Andrew Masters to give his team the narrow 2-1 lead early in the second.
The Rams then extended their lead midway through the second frame thanks to the quick hands of forward Devon Paliani. Shortly after, Guelph’s Seth Swinson squeaked a loose puck under the pad of Taylor Dupuis to bring his squad within one.
With 36 seconds remaining in the second period, Guelph’s Todd Winder, who’d previously been sent to the dressing room after a puck caught him under the visor, tied the game at 3-3 entering the final frame.
After a tense first half of the third period, Barwell, who was kept quiet throughout much of the second frame, escaped two Gryphons defencemen and took advantage of a stellar breakaway to give his team the late lead.
Though Barwell added his second of the game minutes later to add some insurance, the Gryphons came right back, cutting the Rams’ lead to one thanks to centre Ryan Valentini.
With 45 seconds to go in the period, Guelph winger Connor Bramwell shockingly wristed a shot just past Dupuis to tie the contest for the third time. In the dying seconds, Ryerson’s fourth-year netminder managed to shut the door on a relentless Gryphons offense to send the game to overtime after the staggering equalizer.
In the overtime period, Mistele, perfectly positioned in front of Guelph’s net, punched a shot past Masters to stunningly secure a victory for his team at the Gryphon Centre.
UP NEXT: Game 3 goes Sunday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Puck drops at 7:15 p.m.