Rams hockey keeps it tame in U.S. game, while others brawl it up

Johnny Duco

Rams men’s hockey head coach Johnny Duco said his team had a “tame game” against the NCAA’s Sacred Heart Pioneers. (James Tozer)

Compared to many other Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) men’s hockey teams, the Ryerson Rams had a pleasant trip to the United States last weekend.

The Rams travelled to Bridgeport, Conn., falling 7-4 to the National Collegiate Athletic Associations’ (NCAA) Sacred Heart Pioneers in an exhibition match on Sunday.

“It was a pretty tame game. We played well,” said Rams head coach Johnny Duco. “We were happy with the effort. It was [a] good trip and now we’re geared up and ready to get things started for real.”

Several other CIS teams also made trips to the U.S. last weekend, but many of their games were filled with penalty minutes and misconducts.

Last Saturday, the University of Windsor Lancers travelled to Bowling Green, Ohio to face the Falcons. After the game, which Bowling Green won 3-2, the teams brawled in the neutral zone.

The University of New Brunswick’s match against Merrimack featured 172 combined penalty minutes. Acadia’s game against Northeastern featured 114 minutes in penalties while the University of Prince Edward Island’s match against Boston University had 122.

While not all CIS versus NCAA men’s hockey games reached the triple digit mark in penalty minutes, it’s far from uncommon.

Duco said that a lot of the nastiness is territorial. NCAA teams don’t want CIS schools coming into their rinks and winning, he explained.

“It’s competitive and it’s high-level,” said Duco. “Both teams have a ton of very talented hockey players. When that happens, emotions are always going to run high. Both teams want to represent their league. For us, you want to win to represent the CIS well. I’m sure the NCAA is doing the same thing.”

Both CIS and NCAA teams use the exhibition games as a way to prepare for their regular seasons. The Rams play their first match of the regular season tonight at the Mattamy Athletic Centre against the Laurier Golden Hawks.

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