Toronto, ON- After a series full of intensity and non-stop aggression from start to finish, it was the Mustangs coming out on top after beating the Rams by a 3-2 final. Entering game three on Sunday, the Ryerson Rams named Garrett Forrest as starter while he went up against Lucas Peresseni following a 5-2 loss on Saturday in London.
Through the game’s first ten minutes, the Mustangs and Rams dialled up the heat quickly, though with both goaltenders in net standing tall, it wouldn’t be easy to break open the scoring. While this was the case, the next few minutes would be rather telling as Mathew Santos, at 6:06, broke the game wide open with his third of the playoffs.
The goal, assisted by Shoemaker, would give Ryerson a 1-0 lead over Western. Despite a competitive battle, the first twenty minutes would end with the Rams up by one on the visiting Mustangs. As well, after the game’s first period, the Ryerson Rams would outshoot Western 15-4.
Moving ahead to the second following the game’s first intermission, the Ryerson Rams would maintain the pressure in front of the net in the Mustangs zone. While looking to do further damage after constant efforts to double their lead, the Western Mustangs converted the puck, this setting them up for a chance to tie it.
As such, it would find Kyle Pettit closing in on Forrest in the Ryerson zone before rushing up with the puck from the blue line and banking it in to tie the game up at one. The goal, tapped home on the backhand, would be Pettit’s second goal of the OUA playoffs.
With assists from Kenny Huether and left-winger Anthony Stefano, the Mustangs would tie the game halfway through, this deadlock remaining after forty minutes of play. Heading now into the third in a do or die battle to advance for both sides, it would be Zach Shankar, at 12:43, making no mistake with the game’s third goal. The tally at the midway point would give the Ryerson Rams a 2-1 lead over Western.
As the game clock started to die down, the persistence would remain for both teams respectively, however, after ten minutes of back-and-forth hockey, it would be Franco Sproviero with the game-tying goal. The goal, potted in behind Forrest, would be assisted by Montgomery and Desrocher. The next two minutes would be silent as the game siren sounded, sending this one to overtime.
With the extra frame now in play and both teams looking to achieve the same goal, it would be Ryerson dominating the Mustangs while seeking to keep the puck out of their zone. As such, they would do just after coming out firing and three periods in the books. That would see Jesse Barwell go bar-down on Peressini, but just short of the mesh.
That would allow both teams to trade back-and-forth chances for the next seven minutes while the hometown Rams started tightening their defence near the Ryerson blue line and Garrett Forrest as well. With both teams on the verge of a winner, the Ryerson Rams started forming more chances, but not for long as the Mustangs converted, this putting a halt to the plans of Ryerson.
This would result in a turnover with just over twelve minutes left on the game clock as Mathew Santos and defensemen Mark Shoemaker double-teamed on Kolten Olynek on the way to the net. Unfortunately for the Ryerson Rams who got some added help from defensemen Zach Shankar, Kolten Olynek couldn’t be stopped as he slipped in the puck right by Forrest on the backhand. This would end the three-game series and Ryerson’s hopes of moving onto the next round.
For Ryerson, it becomes five straight seasons where the Rams are eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. With that in mind, Western has now defeated the No.1 and 2 seeds in the OUA West. While currently seeded No.8, the Mustangs, now in the third round, will play for a spot at the nationals in Halifax.
With their 3-2 win over Ryerson, the Western Mustangs advance once again, this time to the OUA West finals where they get set to take on the third place Guelph Gryphons. Guelph advanced to the finals for a second straight season on Friday night as Luke Kutkevicius scored the overtime winner, this ending the season for the hometown Brock Badgers.
Heading into this series, the Gryphons will play without Mikkel Aagaard after he signed with the Grizzlys Wolfsburg of the German pro league last Saturday evening. Guelph beat the sixth-place Golden Hawks by a 4-2 final on home ice last Sunday and will look for a defeat of the Western Mustangs when the finals kick off in round three starting Thursday. The game is available for viewing on OUA.tv with a free account and as always, be sure to check back with coverage to follow on 49 Sports.