By Mario Russo
Nipissing’s Emma Neff’s first career goal powered the no. 5 ranked Lakers past the Rams women’s hockey team 3-1 in a Saturday matinee at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Nov. 27.
The freshman’s memorable shorthanded tally would put the Lakers up 2-1 early in the third period, a marker the Rams were unable to find an equalizer for.
“They were the better team for the [full] 60 minutes,” said Rams head coach Lisa Haley.
The Rams handed the Lakers their first loss of the season in blowout fashion this past Wednesday. Their 4-1 victory on Nov. 24 in North Bay, Ont. saw Rams goaltender Rachel Seeley blank the highly offensive Lakers as she steered aside 22 of 23 shots.
Seeley took over the bulk of the workload once again throughout the opening frame of Saturday’s contest. The Ottawa native who now holds the franchise record in saves, continued to separate herself from the pack, steering aside all 12 of the Lakers looks in the period.
On the other side of the ice, an uneventful opening frame abruptly greeted the pair of offensively powered teams. Despite the abundance of power plays and breakaway rushes, both the Rams and Lakers were unsuccessful in lifting the doughnuts on the scoreboard.
“The urgency just seemed to be missing,” said Haley. “We were certainly missing a little bit of hunger.”
In the second period nothing still seemed to add up offensively for the home side except Nipissing would tack on ten more shots throughout the second before finally solving Seeley.
With just over two minutes to go in the middle frame, Lakers forward Malory Dominico buried a chance in the slot.
Offensive execution appeared to be the challenge for the home side all throughout the contest as every one of the Rams chances either got eaten up by the Lakers goaltender or struck iron.
With the second period dwindling to a close, Brooklyn Gemmill would change the narrative for the Rams.
Pulling an in close chance to her backhand, the veteran forward’s shot would sneak inside the right post, beating Lakers goaltender Chloe Marshall to even up the score heading towards the break.
A pivotal third period kicked off with a bang, but not the one fans at the MAC would’ve liked to see. A massive hit along the Lakers boards shook up rookie forward Brooke Michaud as she skated towards a loose puck.
A hush fell over the crowd until Michaud rose to her feet, making her way to the dressing room with the assistance of the Rams training staff.
“We kept working hard for her,” said Rams forward Avery Horlock. “We really wish we could have done something for her.”
Marilyn Fortin would seal the victory for the visitors with an empty netter, handing the Rams their second straight loss at home.
UP NEXT: It’s the final game of 2021 for the Rams women’s hockey team as they head to the University of Toronto to take on the Varsity Blues on Dec. 3. Puck-drop is set for 7 p.m.