Ryerson’s red-hot offence frozen by Warriors

The Warriors moved a game above the .500 mark, improving to 10–9–2, defeating the Ryerson Rams 3–0 on home ice, as Morrison sparkled in net (48 saves) to notch his first career CIS shutout.

Despite the score, the game was a tightly contested one until the Warriors pulled ahead late, thanks to key offensive sparks, Justin Larson and Anthony Tapper.

The Warriors started slow, as the Rams came out aggressively, dominating the first five minutes of play. Despite the slow start, the Warriors picked up their pace of play. During the first period both teams maintained steady and equal pressure on each others’ attacking zones, but both were held scoreless thanks to excellent goaltending from both Mike Morrison and Troy Passingham, the Rams starting goalie, who had a solid performance recording 38 saves. The Rams had one power play opportunity, the first of three, but they failed to capitalize early on in the first period.

The second period, much like the first, was characterized by excellent goaltending. Both teams kept up equal pressure, but neither offence created many scoring opportunities thanks to tight defence from both teams. In a close, hard-fought period, the Warriors increased pressure in the Ryerson zone, creating multiple scoring opportunities in the last three minutes of the period. Finally, with 1:52 left in the second period, Tapper scored a wrist shot, his second of the season, finding the back of the net to open up the scoring for the Warriors. Head coach Brian Bourque was very pleased with the production he received from a line he usually does not rely on for offence,  “Tapper is not one that usually scores much for us; he scored a great goal…. It was great to get a goal out of Tapper’s line.”

The Warriors’ strong offensive effort carried over to the third period, where Justin Larson from the corner, unleashed a top shelf wrist shot across the crease, extending the Warrior lead to 2–0. Larson extended his point streak to eight games, where he has seven goals and 11 assists.

Bourque did not express surprise regarding Larson’s performance: “Larson led our team in scoring last season, he’s one of our top scorers, and is relied upon to contribute offensively every night.”

To finish the scoring, Andy Smith, with 7:26 left in the third, scored a five-on-three power play goal, the Warriors’ only power play goal to extend the lead to 3–0.  The Warriors went one for six on the power play during the game.

Morrison continued his excellent performance through the third period and kept the Rams scoreless, despite the fact the Warriors were outshot 16 to nine in the third.

Bourque acknowledged and expressed the importance of Morrison’s performance to the team’s win, “He was great. He was in the zone. He seemed confident, and when goaltenders are confident, it usually translates to the other players.”

Looking ahead to the next game against the Laurier Golden Hawks, the Warriors’ cross-town rival, and the remaining six games left after that on the regular season, Bourque thinks his team needs to be tighter on the defensive side of the game, which will allow the team to become more consistent and help them capture a playoff spot: “We have to win the battles down low, offensively, if you look after the defensive zone, scoring opportunities will come.”

The Warriors’ victory against a tough team like the Rams may just provide momentum for the critical home stretch of the season.