Goals galore in Rams win over Thunderwolves

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By Mario Russo

The Rams men’s hockey team came out on top in a 16-goal bonanza Friday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC), putting a bitter end to the Lakehead Thunderwolves’ playoff hopes in a 9-7 victory.

Chris Playfair, Kyle Bollers and Elijah Roberts combined for twelve points, including Bollers netting a pair of goals and four assists in the victory.

Rams head coach Johnny Duco believed the game “felt like a race to ten” with the way both sides came alive offensively. 

Friday night’s barnburner took flight throughout the second period, with both teams combining for six goals as the minutes chugged along. 

Much like they did in the first, both sides traded tallies to open up the middle stanza. Playfair knotted the game up at two apiece just over a minute into the frame for his second of the night, while opposing rookie Stephen Fox netted his fourth of the season to retake the lead. 

Following the win, Duco said he was “really happy to see him be rewarded.” The bench boss also praised Playfair’s incomparable work ethic on the ice and how it’s been a crucial element to the forwards success this season.

The goal parade continued to roll through the MAC as the frame moved along with Ryerson answering the bell twice in just as many minutes. 

Rams defenseman Zachary Shankar took a pass in front of the Lakehead goal before sliding the puck up and over the glove of goaltender Max Wright to tie the game at 3-3. Minutes later, Rams veteran Jesse Barwell would finish off a similar play in tight to the net to give the home side its first lead of the game. 

Despite both teams trading goals later in the frame, the scoreboard would favor the Rams after forty minutes of play. 

The Rams inched their way closer to the win column in the third and on the backs of Playfair and Bollers. The rookies opened up the final frame securing more points, with Bollers connecting on a pass to Playfair to clinch the hat trick goal.

“We’re best buddies off the ice and on the ice I think it shows,” said Playfair following his three-goal performance. 

But back came the visiting Lakehead side. With desperation in their corner, the Thunderwolves pieced together back-to-back goals to tie the game 6-6. 

The Rams answered the bell yet again following the Lakehead comeback, with Bollers netting his first goal of the evening and his fifth point of the game.

The Bollers blast from in close still wasn’t enough to down the Thunderwolves, as just minutes later Lakehead forward Spencer Blackwell beat Garrett Forrest between the legs to keep the playoff hopes alive for the Thunder Bay side.

Rams captain Jared Walsh critiqued his side’s reluctance to play above opponents, mentioning how the Rams “can’t play to the pace of the other team.”

Less than three minutes later, however, the Rams would score the most pivotal goal of the evening, with Barwell smashing a one-timer to give the Rams their third lead of the game.

The Thunderwolves would muster various offensive pushes through the third, all met with the padding of Forrest between the pipes. The visitors would go for broke in the final moments of the frame, pulling their goalie to force overtime. 

Lakehead’s lifeline would go the way of the home side, with Kyle Bollers burying the empty-netter for his sixth point of the evening.

“You just hold on for dear life and you hope when the buzzer goes, you’re up,” said Duco following the Rams nine-goal winning effort. 

UP NEXT: The Rams face the Lakehead Thunderwolves Saturday evening at the MAC to wrap up their regular season. Puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m.

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