Despite being plagued by penalties throughout the second period, the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team defeated the Western Mustangs 2-1 on Saturday, marking the Rams’ first victory against the Mustangs in five years.
The win evened up the series for the Rams, who lost 3-4 to the Ontario University Athletics fifth-ranked Mustangs when the teams last met on Oct. 16, led by a strong team effort and a serious showing from goalie and game MVP Troy Passingham.
“Passingham was just dialed in today,” coach Graham Wise said after the game. “It raises everybody else’s game, so good job by him.”
The Rams started the game dominating the Mustangs, outshooting them 15-6. Forward Domenic Alberga managed to capitalize on a Ryerson power play after two Western penalties to give the Rams a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period.
“I just stepped out and I knew the goalie wasn’t going to be down and just threw it at the net,” Alberga said of his goal. “It went in luckily.”
The momentum shifted for the Rams after picking up 12 penalty minutes during the second period including an interference and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to Kyle Blaney.
The Mustangs enjoyed a five-on-three advantage for nearly five minutes of play during the period.
Even with multiple steals by Passingham and a strong defensive showing, Western’s Matt Marantz was able to put the Mustangs on the board with a late second period power-play goal.
“Honestly it was a little frustrating,” said Passingham. “It was hard to stay focused. But you know, we took the penalties so we bore down and we killed it off for our team, and after that I think we just took it to them. We were a better team five-on-five.”
The Rams managed to “weather the storm” and played a much cleaner third period and that was important said Wise.
Passingham continued holding off the Mustangs with big saves as the Rams fought back.
Things looked scary for the Rams at one point after Alberga took a puck to the back of the leg and left the ice. However, he returned for the Rams later in the game.
“It just hit me in the wrong nerve in the back of my leg. My whole leg went numb,” Alberga said. “Tough one, but I got back out there.”
Western tried pushing back by pulling goalie Greg Dodds and taking a timeout with six seconds left, but it wasn’t enough for a comeback as Ryerson walked away with the 2-1 win.
“I thought we weathered a real storm in the second period,” Wise said. “I thought it was a team effort. That’s the way you’ve got to play games against good teams like Western. You have to play at the top of your game, and I thought we were at the top of the game tonight.”
The team had a bit of luck on Jason Kelly’s winning goal, “so got to be happy with he win,” said Wise.