The crowd at the Mattamy Athletic Centre was far from electric for the Ryerson Rams on Friday night, but they made up for it on the ice; defeating the Concordia University Stingers 8-4 in a goalscoring fire show.
There were many positives to take away from the game, one of which would be the totality of the offence. However, there were also many negatives and things the team will have to work on in their two remaining preseason games.
So what did we learn in Ryerson’s 8-4 win over the Concordia stingers?
Discipline is still a problem
In their home opening pre-season game last week, Ryerson hosted homecoming and the team as clearly invigorated by such a big crowd. The excitement got to them and caused the Ram’s to take many unnecessary penalties throughout the game.
This was a similar case to the disciplinary issues the team faced against the Stingers on Friday night. The Rams have had issues staying out of the box, and the team has continued to take penalties, forcing them on to the penalty kill.
Yes, Ryerson did score two shorthanded goals on Friday, however, those were unplanned.
“We got some lucky bounces, and guys in the right place at the right time.” Rams head coach Johnny Duco said after the game.
The penalties are products of two things. The first is unnecessary grit and management, with the other being standing up for teammates. There were multiple times throughout the evening where a Ryerson player got the wrong end of a hit, only to have his teammate come in for revenge. While the fightback is admirable, it will prove costly, especially against a stronger opponent.
Duco promised that his team will work on the cleanliness as well as their penalty kill in the next week, because if they don’t get it sorted out- it could be a very long season for the Rams special teams.
Goals, goals and oh yea.. more goals
Any time you put up eight goals in a game, something clearly going right. The Ram’s forecheck was the focus of their performance and boy did it work well. Although it can be directly connected to their mass of penalty minutes, they never let Concordia control the game.
Every time the Stingers got the puck, there were Ryerson defenders on their tail. The constant stick taps and back pushes forced the Stingers off the puck and allowed the Rams to regain control.
Players such as Dominic Comisso and Hayden McCool personified the mentality that Ryerson took in this game. Whenever Concordia goaltender Turcotte got the puck, both forwards were right on him forcing the netminder into fast, many times wrong decision.
McCool did cross the line midway through the third period when he rushed the netminder too closely and made head-on contact with him. Turcotte spun around and was clearly a little bit dazed from the hit; McCool was thrown out of the game and the rams had to serve a five-minute penalty.
Although the penalty was the initial punishment, it could prove to be a multi-game suspension for McCool, due to the fact that the U Sports disciplinary committee takes these instances very seriously.
Whether there is a suspension or not from the hit, it exemplified the high pressing forecheck the rams focused on a strategy with proved fruitful through their eight goals.
Through four preseason games, freshman defenseman Aaron Hyman is exceeding expectation. Not only is he steady defensively when he is on the ice, but he also has an exceptionally high fitness level which is evident whenever he is on the ice.
In his own end, the former Regina Pat is controlled and calculated with all his movements; using his size smartly to give him the best chance to get the puck back from an attacker. He is able to go into the boards and challenge anyone physically, while most of the time winning the battles.
For a lot of big guys l the challenge is their movement, however, it’s not a problem for Hyman. Against Concordia there were many times where he would get into a board battle in his own end of the ice, win the puck back and skate it one way before stopping on a time and turning around to get rid of the defender. The quick adjustment is likened to sizeable NHL defenders such as the LA Kings drew doughty who has built his career on physical play and skating.
That is only his work in the defensive end, we have not even mentioned everything he offers going forward. Again like doughty, Hyman is able to throw the puck around the offensive zone and set up a powerplay or even strength cycle. At the point, he can transition across the blueline, putting himself in prime position to use his blistering slapshot.
Fitness, minutes and smarts encapsulate the player that is Aaron Hyman, one of the best new additions the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team this year.
Last year’s leading scorer Matt Mistele was cleared for action this week and could have played. However, coach Duco held him out of the lineup just for precaution. Expect to see him against Niagara next week, as well as in the opening night lineup.
NEXT: Ryerson V Concordia. Saturday, September 28, 3:15. Maple Leaf Gardens.
Top photo creds: Alex . D’addese
Aaron Hyman Graphic: Juan Morales