Mustangs Head Coach Kelly Paton
After a goaltending battle saw Western lose the previous night in a shootout 2-1 against the Brock Badgers, the women's hockey team went right back to work, facing the Ryerson Rams Saturday evening. The Rams came into Thompson Arena undefeated, looking to continue their winning ways as they had outscored their oppositions 11-5 heading into the contest. Former Mustang Kryshanda Green, led the Rams in scoring with 4 goals so far on teh season, matching up against St Mary's, Ontario's own April Clarke who had 2 goals so far for the home team.
The first period started with a clash of two very different styles of play, the Rams coming out with more of a speed game and the Mustangs countering with a body first style of hockey. This forced the Rams to dump and chase for most of the opening frame, leading to very minimal scoring chances. The Mustangs thought they had a go-ahead goal four minutes into the game, when Merrimack College transfer Beatrice Dufour dumped the puck in on net. The puck took a few awkward skips before beating Rams goalie Rachel Seeley, however it was on a delayed offside and called back by the officials. Later in the first stanza, the Mustangs fell into penalty trouble, only to be bailed out by timely shot blocks by Canadian Internation Hockey Academy product Evra Levesque, who single handedly killed momentum built up on the Rams power play.
Ryerson came out flying on the fresh sheet of ice to open the second period, as the Mustangs found themselves still on the penalty kill, with April Clarke in the penalty box for a tripping penalty late in the first period. Only to have Rookie goaltender Carmen Lasis, keep her Mustangs in the game despite being shorthanded on the ice. Western would eventually find themselves on a power play of their own, as Ryerson's Laura Ball would make a vicious spear after the whistle on Amanda Perira and receive four minutes in the boz as a result. Western had multiple chances, but was unable to capitalize on them. However, with the everlasting pressure, the Ponies would finally get a bounce to go their way when a deflection by Catherine O'Connor would get passed the Ram's keeper. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native Catherine O'Connor would not stop there, as the 2x Nova Scotia Hard Hat Award winner tallied back to back, putting her team up 2-0. With Lasis standing on her head, it looked like it would take an impeccable shot to beat her. That was until the the dying seconds of the frame, after an intercepted pass in the neutral zone, was capitalized by Ram's Madison Lalonde to make it 2-1 heading into the 2nd intermission.
Despite the slim one goal lead, the Mustangs had the benefit of being undefeated (2-0-0-0) so far in the 2017-18 season when leading after 40 minutes of play. Early in the period, the Mustangs found themselves back in the sin bin with a high stick 100 feet from their own net. From there, Ryerson seemed to take control of the game with pressure uninterrupted, even after failing to score on their power play. The savior to the Mustangs holding off the Rams was Carmen Lasis in net, who had a calming effect on her team, even during a lengthy three minute attack in Westerns zone where Ryerson never let them touch the puck. Not only did the Mustangs hold off defensively, but Oakville, Ontario's own Amanda Pereira would finish the game off with an empty net goal sealing the deal with a 3-1 final score.
The 3-1 win for the Western women's hockey team now improves them to 3-0-0-1, while the first loss of 2017-18 for the Ryerson Rams, has their record drop to 2-1-1-0. The Rams will look to get back on the winning track next Friday night when they host the Brock Badgers at the Mattamy Athletics Centre in downtown Toronto, Ontario. While the Mustangs will continue to play at Thompson Arena for another game, when they host the Toronto Varsity Blues, who have started their season 3-0-0-0 next Friday night at 7pm.