There are a few games that stand out in one’s hockey career. For players who have made it to their final year of U Sports hockey, many have played over 1000 games of competitive action. After all of the frigid morning trips to the rinks as a youngin, moving away to play junior and finally enrolling in school, everything comes back when players are honoured as part of their school’s senior’s night.
The Ryerson Rams hosted their senior’s night in their second last home game of the season against the Laurier Golden Hawks. Prior to the game, some of the best players in program history were honoured. The six players that will leave a hole both on the ice and in the locker room received flowers prior to the game, with many alongside their parents.
Matt Mistele, who broke the school’s points record earlier in the season is undebatably the finest scorer the program has ever seen. Over the loudspeakers, the Rams PA announcer spoke about Mistele’s various accolades throughout his illustrious OUA career, but it’s not something that the man himself cares much about. While Mistele middled around during warmups, head coach Johnny Duco spoke about his star players’ mentality. “He’s so chill, he’d probably skip this if he could.” The fact the captain can think like that yet still score above a point per game is a true testament to the player he is.
While Mistele is the all-time scoring leader, there is one man who is truly the face of the Ryerson hockey team. That is the record-holding goaltender Taylor Dupuis, a soon to be graduate of the RTA Sport Media program holds the record for most wins, and many more. The former Sarnia String netminder has endeared himself in the hearts of many a Ryerson student, something that will be dearly missed in the athletic program.
The other players honoured were Marcus Hinds, whose sister plays for the Rams women’s team, Devon Pallian, Holden Cooke and Steven Harland.
However, while there was a lot of nostalgia on the night, a hockey game did still take place. In the first period, it was clear what this game meant to both teams. For ryerson, it presented them with a chance to keep pace with the Toronto Varsity Blues, who had won the night prior, and for Laurier, it was a great opportunity to take a stronghold of a playoff spot.
The game started off as well as one could have hoped for the home team, as it only took a pair of minutes before they got on the board. A wrist shot from the point was tipped in by Gregory DiTomaso, who was also awarded the “Number 4 Award” as the team’s top defensman prior to the game.
Although the game may have started off with a bang for the home side, things slowed down not long after. The visiting Golden Hawks got themselves on the board with a fluttering wrist shot that hypnotized Ryerson netminder Garret Forrest with less than five minutes in the first period.
The second period saw both sides kill off penalties, and Ryerson continues to pepper the Laurier net with shots, however, the period still ended deadlocked at one.
In the third, it was almost as if a fairy tale was being written in front of the eyes of spectators, as Palliani, one of Ryerson’s honoured seniors scored the go-ahead goal which would have completed the perfect evening.
Unfortunately for Palliani and co, the Golden Hawks had other ideas. A failed clearing attempt by the Rams gave Laurier a chance and in turn the tying goal in the dying moments of the matchup.
After getting all of the momenta sucked out of them from a bad goal, the Rams lost the game in overtime, ending their win streak and allowing Toronto to secure their hold on the conference’s top seed. For the Golden Hawks, the win has given them a three-point buffer between them a final playoff spot. They are now the highest team in the conference not to have clinched.
Both teams now have a week off. Ryerson will recongregate for their School Day game against the York Lions, who they defeated in their Winter Homecoming only a couple weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Golden Hawks will continue their playoff pursuit against the Western Mustangs, who only trail by two points at the time of writing.
Cover Photo: Benjamin Steiner/ 49 Sports