By Mario Russo
Abby Howland and Taylor Trussler provided all the offence for the University of Toronto (U of T) Varsity Blues to hand the Rams women’s hockey team its first loss of the season on Nov. 19 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
Howland’s second of the night would come with just 9.2 seconds left in the middle period, throwing a wrench in the Rams perfect season. Trussler recorded her second goal of the game in the third period to put the nail in the Rams coffin.
“We beat ourselves,” said Rams head coach Lisa Haley
The first period has been key in the Rams successful run as of late, filling the net with goals and slamming the door on opposing attacks. However, Friday night’s contest was where that stride met a pothole.
Not even halfway through the first frame, the Rams witnessed its shutout bid go up in flames. A scramble in front of the Rams goal saw three white sweaters compared to a meager Rams two.
The easy math in front added up to a goal for the visitors, as Howland was credited with the game’s first tally.
“Right from the get go it just seemed like it wasn’t going to be our night,” said Haley.
Trussler would double U of T’s lead with seven minutes to go in the frame, zipping a shot right over the blocker of Rams goalie Rachel Seeley.
Turnovers and lack of intensity would haunt the Rams throughout the opening frame. The group headed into the intermission down a pair of goals
A positive note for the Rams was that they escaped unharmed by the visitors powerplay. After the game Haley said she was “very proud” of the team’s penalty killers Friday night and credited them with keeping the Rams in the game.
A momentous penalty kill in the second period sprung the Rams the other way, this time with better numbers.
An odd-man rush made its way to the stick of Mia Morano. The second-year forward lit the lamp to bring the Rams within one, flooding the ice with teddy bears for Teddy Bear Toss night.
“I was honestly surprised by it… It was nice to get it started,” said Morano following the loss.
But on Friday night, the Rams furry friends would be their only companions in this one as they suffered their first loss of the season.
Despite coming out on the wrong end of a lopsided loss, Seeley etched her name in the Rams record books, becoming the program’s all-time save leader. Haley said her young goaltender has “earned absolutely everything that she’s gotten” and declared her as a “real backbone” for the team.
UP NEXT: The Rams head to North Bay, Ont., to take on the Nipissing Lakers on Nov. 24. Puck-drop is set for 7 p.m.