By Kintaro Skinner
The Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team opened the new season against the same team that broke their hearts last year, falling to the Guelph Gryphons 5-2 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Oct. 10.
Eliminated by the Gryphons in last year’s playoffs, the Rams struggled to keep up with their energy straight out the gate.
“[Guelph’s] a tenacious, hardworking, extremely well-coached team,” said Rams head coach Johnny Duco post-game. “If you don’t compete and execute you’re gonna have a really tough time.”
Gryphons forward Todd Winder scored the first goal of the game just four minutes in with a wrist shot in the right slot over the shoulder of Rams goaltender Troy Timpano.
Soon after, forwards Matt Kenney and Connor Bramwell each added a goal in front of the net to extend the Gryphons lead to 3-0 after the first period.
As the second period came and went, the early season rust was quite apparent.
A missed timed pass by Rams defensemen Greg DiTomaso to forward Mathew Santos was called for icing.
An accurate pass could’ve led to a 3-on-1 rush for the Rams but turning the puck over was the theme of the night. The Rams weren’t able to get into their flow on both ends of the ice.
Later in the third period, a 2-on-1 break for the Rams that featured last year’s U SPORTS leading point-getter Matthew Mistele, saw him thread a cross-crease pass to Santos on the right-wing.
Santos couldn’t capitalize and missed a wide open net as the goaltender was going the other way.
“We came out and for whatever reason, we weren’t ready to compete off the hop,” said Duco. “I thought as the game went on we did start to compete harder and I thought we took some positive strides there in the third period.”
Guelph managed to put up two more goals, up 5-0 just three minutes into the third period. The Rams finally struck back with their first goal of the season by forward David Miller.
“[Devon Paliani] chipped it into Harlo [Steven Harland] and then Harlo found me cutting across the net and I got it and just put it in,” described Miller.
The goal brought some much-needed life onto the Rams bench. Forward Jesse Barwell added another goal to cut the score 5-2.
However, it was a little too late as the second Rams goal came with just under two minutes left in the final period.
“It’s definitely not the way we wanted to start, but the main thing is to just put it behind us and focus on the next game,” said Miller.
UP NEXT: The Rams welcome their downtown rival the Toronto Varsity Blues on Oct. 12 in their second game of the season. Puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m.