On Feb. 15, the Ryerson Rams defeated the Lakehead Thunderwolves 2-1 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, sweeping them in round one of the OUA playoffs.
The first period ended in a deadlock, with neither team scoring a goal. Ryerson edged Lakehead out in shots 9-8 for the period.
Ryerson had a few chances to go up early in the game, including a breakaway opportunity by Rams sniper Mathew Santos.
In game 1 of the series, the Rams put up three in the first against Lakehead in Thunder bay, winning the game 4-1.
The Rams didn’t waste much time in the second period. Within the first 25 seconds of the period, third-year forward Steven Harland found himself alone in the slot and rifled a puck into the back of the Thunderwolves net, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead.
Ryerson was able to hold onto the lead heading into the third period of play.
The Rams were dominating the game and controlling the tempo the entire third period but couldn’t get another one past Lakehead’s first-year goalie Brock Aikens.
With 4:32 remaining in the third, Lakehead was able to tie the game at one all when Jordan Larson tipped a shot past Rams goalie Garrett Forrest.
Immediately following the Thunderwolves goal, Ryerson picked up a penalty, giving Lakehead a glorious chance to tie up the series at one.
Lakehead lost their man advantage when Geoff Dempster hit Ryerson’s Zachary Shankar from behind.
Lakehead killed off the penalty before picking up a too many men on the ice penalty with nine seconds remaining.
The Rams entered the overtime period with the man advantage and peppered Aikens with shot after shot.
Aikens and Forrest both stood on their heads all night, keeping their teams in the game.
Ryerson had most of the opportunities in OT but Garrett Forrest still had to be sharp when the Thunderwolves made their desperate push to force a game 3.
Unfortunately for Lakehead, they couldn’t get one past Forrest in the extra period.
The OT hero was Devon Paliani. With 9:12 remaining, Paliani pounced on a rebound and buried his shot into the top corner, sending the Rams onto the next round.
Paliani was all over Lakehead the whole night and he was rewarded with the biggest goal of the season.