Photo by Hung Le

Rams take on top seeded Gryphons in semifinals

By Luke Bellus

TORONTO - After winning the first playoff series in the program's history, the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team is off to the semifinals.

The Rams first round series against the Queen’s Gaels was one to be remembered; all three games were decided by one goal with both of Ryerson’s wins coming in overtime.

After giving up three goals in their game one loss to Queen’s, Ryerson bounced back in games two and three holding the Gaels to just two goals in the 164 minutes combined.

Goalie Fanny Vigeant started all three games for the Rams in the series and made six starts in the Rams final seven regular season games.

Head coach Lisa Haley hasn’t been afraid to mix up her goaltending situation this season and goalie freshman Natalie Thompson showed her ability to make big saves and win big games in the regular season when her name was called upon.

Vigeant has been very good for the Rams down the stretch, but having Thompson’s 5-2 record and 2.49 GAA is a great luxury for Haley to have on the bench if she needs to change things up.

Ryerson split the season series with the Gryphons and both goalies Vigeant and Thompson had good showings. Vigeant picked up a win for the Rams when she made 22 saves on 24 shots, and Thompson had a good relief appearance in their meeting in October when she made 16 saves on 17 shots.

Guelph won their opening series by sweeping the eighth seeded Brock Badgers, in a commanding 5-0 win and followed that up with a 1-0 series clinching win in St. Catharines. Statistically Guelph was the best team in the OUA this year - they lead all teams in goals with 79 and gave up the fewest, surrendering just 34 in their 24 games.

In their first-round matchup with the Badgers they converted on two of their nine power plays and killed off all 10 penalties they took.

Ryerson will need to find a way to break the Gryphons special team units while also getting goals five-on-five.  

One player that could play a big factor and really stood out in the first round was Brooklyn Gemmill. The second-year forward finished the regular season with 23 points in 24 games and was even more impressive in the first round.

Gemmill picked up assists on five of the Rams six goals in the first round and if she can keep that point production up in the second round the Rams will have a great chance against this Gryphons team.

The series opens up Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 in Guelph, with game two going Friday, Mar. 1 with a 7:15 puck drop at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. A potential game three would happen Sunday, Mar. 3 in Guelph.

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