By Raine Hernandez
In a night where six graduating players were being honoured, the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team were defeated by the Laurier Golden Hawks 3-2 in overtime at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Jan. 30.
It was Golden Hawk forward Danny Hanlon that wired a shot past Garrett Forrest for the overtime victory on senior night.
The Rams were unable to extend their winning streak to five games, and ironically, their past two losses in the last 10 games have been against Laurier.
“We beat ourselves there. Very disappointing for sure,” said Rams head coach Johnny Duco.
Despite the outcome, it was a special night for the likes of Steven Harland, Taylor Dupuis, Holden Cook, Marcus Hinds, Devon Palian, and Matt Mistele.
Prior to puck drop, the six players were congratulated on their career as a member of the Ryerson Rams.
“There’s definitely been a culture change since [the graduating class] joined,” said Duco. “Those guys have all played a huge part, and they have left the program better than they have found it.”
Not only the graduating players were honoured on the night as Greg DiTomaso was awarded the John Saunders Award for being the team’s best defenceman.
The award is named after the late ESPN analyst John Saunders, who played two seasons with the Rams.
“It’s an honour,” said DiTomaso, who also gave credit to last season’s captain Alex Basso for his growth as a player. “He set the bar here, I’m just trying to continue it.”
In the first period, DiTomaso showed why he is heavily relied upon from the back-end, opening the scoring from a shot from the point that gave Ryerson the 1-0 lead.
However, just shortly after forward Chayse Herrfort wired a shot past Garrett Forrest, as the Golden Hawks would tie the game at one, following 20 minutes of play.
The Golden Hawks limited any high-quality scoring chances for the Rams and their game plan of playing a trap in the neutral zone in an effort to stop Ryerson’s high-potent offence worked well.
“[Laurier] plays a tough defensive-minded system,” said Duco following the overtime loss.
Another strong element to Laurier’s strong play defensively was the performance of goaltender Tyler Fassl, who made 32 saves on route to the overtime victory.
Skip to the third period, the Rams would take the lead after Patrick Fellows fed Paliani for a breakaway, beating Fassl to make it a 2-1 game.
Paliani, who was also recognized for his four-year career at Ryerson, was pleased with the chemistry he’s developed with his new linemates in Fellows and also Mathew Santos.
“I think we’ve been playing really well together,” said Paliani, after scoring his eighth goal of the season. “Everyone brings different assets to the line.”
With just minutes remaining in the final period, the Rams attempted to hold the lead, but the Golden Hawks would pull Fassl out of net. After a huge scramble, Ethan Wiseman would tie it up and sent the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, the Rams struggled to generate any quality scoring chances. It ultimately led to Hanlon scoring the game-winning goal for the Golden Hawks.
UP NEXT: The Rams will get the rest of the week off as their next game is against the York Lions on Feb. 5 in what will be a school day game and their last home game of the regular season. Puck drops at 11:00 a.m.