Men’s hockey run over by Rams

Looking to gain third in the OUA East, loss to Rams keeps men’s hockey in fifth

Gaels forward Jon Lawrance holds up a Ryerson defenseman during Saturday’s 9-5 shellacking at the hands of the Rams.
Gaels forward Jon Lawrance holds up a Ryerson defenseman during Saturday’s 9-5 shellacking at the hands of the Rams.

Coming off an emotional 4-3 victory over the University of Toronto on Friday night, the men’s hockey team was markedly more somber on Saturday night after their 9-5 humiliation at the hands of the Ryerson Rams.

After going through the obligatory handshakes at game’s end, head coach Brett Gibson stormed off the ice in a quiet rage, his players dejectedly marching to the safety of the locker room behind him.

The game was tied at 5-5 after the second period, but the Rams scored four goals in the last 10 minutes of the third period to run away with it.

The Rams struck first, but goals by Payton Liske and Jordan Mirwaldt knotted the score at 2-2 after the first period.

The Gaels took their first lead of the game in the second period as Liske and captain Jon Lawrance notched back-to-back goals for a 4-3 edge. Ryerson roared back with two goals of their own to push the score to 5-4. Defenceman Ben Munroe scored an equalizer in the last two minutes during a Queen’s power play.

The second period highlighted some dangerous flaws in the Gaels’ game plan. The power play was especially sloppy, failing to connect on passes, and struggling to clear the zone.

Lawrance said the Gaels’ special teams didn’t work hard enough.

“On the power play, [when] we were making plays we were bobbing the puck,” he said. “When you’re on the power play you got to outwork them, and tonight it kind of seemed as if it was the other way around. That definitely killed momentum a couple of times on our power play.”

De Fazio had been strong for the Gaels since getting the starting job, posting a 3.38 goals-against-average entering the game. On Saturday night, Gibson pulled him after the Rams’ eighth goal. Backup goaltender Fraser Nash allowed the Rams’ ninth goal.

“[The result was] embarrassing,” forward Joey Derochie said. “We were pretty sloppy in our own end. I think we took them too lightly. … It was an important game. I think we missed an opportunity.” Going into Saturday night’s game, the Gaels were tied for fourth in the OUA East with Toronto, but fell to fifth after the Varsity Blues’ overtime win over the Royal Military College. With a three-game homestand remaining in the regular season, the Gaels will be looking to secure home ice advantage for the first round in the playoffs.

Derochie said playing at the Memorial Centre would be a big advantage for the Gaels.

“Everyone wants to play in front of their home crowd and [we] practice here,” he said. “We know the bounces and I think it would be a big advantage for our team.” To gain home ice the Gaels need to quickly patch up their defensive issues. Forward Jeffery Johnstone said he feels the problem is a matter of communication.

“Right now guys are thinking instead of just reacting,” he said. “I think guys are a little hesitant right now. That will come this week of practice – we’ll work on that and make sure that it’s shored up.”

The Gaels’ next game is the annual Carr-Harris Cup against RMC on Thursday. “I think [home ice is] going to be the big focus the next couple of games … get our heads back in it and realize that’s what we are playing for,” Johnstone said.

The Gaels will take on the Royal Military College Paladins on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Centre for the Carr-Harris Cup.

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