Warriors skate out of back-to-back homestand with a point

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Hoping to put together more consistent efforts and to get their season back on rails, the men’s hockey team dropped a pair of decisive matches in a back-to-back weekend trip Nov. 18 and 19. Waterloo was shut out at the CIF by Ryerson with a 4-0 score and conceded an exciting double-overtime game against Windsor, losing 4-3. The losses drop Waterloo to a 3-7-3 record, placing them ahead of only the University of Toronto in the OUA West division standings.

The game versus Ryerson is best described as extremely physical. Both teams racked up a grand total of 88 penalty minutes and four 10-minute game misconducts. However, while Waterloo was unable to convert on any of their power play opportunities, Ryerson found the back of the net twice with the man advantage, which helped make all the difference on the scoreboard. The game was never particularly offensive and shot totals remained low despite how often special teams came into play.

Scoring opened only 4:44 into the game, as Ryerson’s leading scorer Michael Fine was left alone in front of the net and manoeuvred the puck past starting Waterloo netminder Mike Morrison. In the second, Ryerson increased their lead from 1-0 to 3-0 with two quick power play goals, both coming off a call that saw Waterloo’s Cam Nicoll earn a five-minute major and game misconduct for a high, open-ice hit on Ryerson’s Alex Basso. While scuffles and a few roughing penalties had been called before this hit, the hit on Basso really marked the beginning of the hostility that took over the game. The final dagger in Waterloo’s coffin came at 6:20 of the third period when Ryerson’s Devon Paliani chipped a puck past the Waterloo defence and found himself on a breakaway, where he made no mistake and buried the puck past Morrison.

Morrison would save 20 of Ryerson’s 24 shots in the loss, while Ryerson goalie Charlie Graham turned away all 22 Warriors shots in his first ever OUA shutout. Waterloo’s power play would end the game going 0-for-6 with the man advantage.

A little over 24 hours later, Waterloo found themselves in Windsor to take on the fourth-place University of Windsor Lancers and to try to break out of their slump. Chris Hurry got the nod to start in net for Waterloo, while Kris Joyce started for Windsor.

Waterloo opened the scoring at 7:31 of the first period as Phillip Fife, picking up the puck in the neutral zone, found himself in a two-on-one rush. Fife made the correct choice and elected to shoot, putting the puck through Joyce’s pads and giving the Warriors a 1-0 lead. Windsor would even the score as a missed point shot would find its way onto the stick of Steve Anthony. The Lancers would seize the lead a little more than a minute later as Dylan Denomme fired a harmless-looking shot that handcuffed Hurry and found its way to the back of the net. The Warriors would tie the game before the end of the first with a Zac Coulter power play goal. After receiving a cross-ice pass and having the first shot stopped by Joyce, Coulter would collect his own rebound and deposit it past Windsor’s out-of-position goalie.

Waterloo would take back the lead with the only goal of the second period, also on the power play. After the puck found its way to Mike Moffat at the point, a tic-tac-toe play involving Michael Siddall would eventually find its way to captain Riley Sonnenburg, who would make no mistake off of a nice shot from the slot. Waterloo would hold onto the lead until early in the third period, when Justice Dundas, on an incredible individual play, would dance through the Waterloo defence before putting the puck past Hurry to tie the game at 3-3.

Both teams would need double overtime in order to decide the winner. Windsor’s Todd Ratchford would be the OT hero, firing a one-timer past Hurry to end the game. As the OUA is implementing a new overtime system, the first OT period was played four-on-four and moved to three-on-three after five scoreless minutes. The most striking thing about the overtime period, apart from its fast pace and quick transitions, was how much space was available. The extra ice afforded by the lower number of players gave the puck carrier plenty of time to manoeuvre and made defending quite the difficult task.

The men’s hockey team next heads to St. Catharine’s Nov. 26 to face the Brock Badgers, who defeated the Warriors in a close overtime game. There, they hope to break out of a miserable goal-scoring slump — Waterloo is tied for the least amount of goals-for in the entire CIS while being relatively middle-of-the-road in goals allowed. They also sport the second-worst power play percentage in the CIS, scoring only three goals on 45 opportunities with the extra man.

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