By Mario Russo
Missed opportunities haunted the Rams women’s hockey team as they were defeated 2-1 by the University of Toronto ( U of T) Varsity Blues on Friday, Oct. 22 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
Turnovers in all ends of the ice plagued much of the first period for each side. Both the Rams and Varsity Blues were unable to establish any element of their game, with much of the match resembling a table tennis rally with how frequently the puck crossed the red line.
In the Rams’ 3-2 victory over the York Lions last Friday, the team found numerous ways to tire the opposition out and keep them in their own end of the ice. But the first period of Friday’s game saw the tables turn on the Rams.
The Varsity Blues gave the Rams a taste of their own medicine, working the corners and scoring from it. Celine Frappier swooped in off a scramble in the face-off dot, before letting go a shot that beat the Rams goaltender clean.
Frappier’s marker broke the scoreless tie and put the Varsity Blues up 1-0.
Two penalties in quick succession capped off the final minutes of the first frame and put the Rams in the driver’s seat to execute a comeback. However, Rams spoiled their two-man advantage and headed to the locker room trailing their crosstown rivals.
A massive hit from Rams defender Keelin Farren opened up the second frame. Farren received a penalty, but the hit set the tone for the remainder of the contest and gave the Rams some much-needed energy.
The Rams controlled the pace of play in the second period, generating chance after chance with nothing to show for it.
However, it was not the Rams being awarded for their dominant play this time around, as U of T forward Taylor Trussler slid home a loose puck in front of the goal to push the lead to 2-0. The tally came with minutes to go in the frame and was Trussler’s third goal of the preseason.
The Rams continued to outshoot and outplay their opponent, but headed into the intermission trailing by a wider margin and with time now the villain.
The Varsity Blues quickly began to swing the momentum in their favour in the third period. They made numerous offensive pushes, but a Rams charge at the blue line poked the puck loose and saw forward Erika Crouse skate down the ice.
Shorthanded and with a teammate open, Crouse slid the puck to her backhand and roofed it above the goalkeeper’s glove to cut the deficit to one.
With ten minutes to go, the Rams continued to charge, but were once again unable to build on the momentum from their lone shorthanded marker. After dropping Friday’s contest, they’ll have to wait until Nov. 19 for another shot at the Varsity Blues.
UP NEXT: The Rams round out the preseason with a home game against the Guelph Gryphons on Oct. 30. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m.