This article first appeared on RyersonRams.ca on Oct. 23, 2013.
Guelph Gryphons vs. Ryerson RamsThursday, October 24
Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, 7:30 p.m.
Ryerson: 2-1-0 Last Game: 7-3 L vs. TOR; 2013-14 Season Series vs. Guelph: 0-0-0
Ryerson travels into unfamiliar territory on Thursday night, as they face the Guelph Gryphons for the first time in four years. The last time these two teams met was Nov. 21, 2009 when the Gryphons easily handled the Rams, 8-2. Both teams have gotten off to strong starts on the year with Guelph sitting tied for second place in the OUA West with a record of 3-1. They have one game up on Ryerson, who enters Thursday’s Student Night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, tied for sixth with a 2-1 record. Ryerson’s last OUA action was Oct. 16 against Toronto, where they lost 7-3. After a pair of exhibition losses against the Princeton Tigers (NCAA) over the weekend, they will look to get back to their winning ways in front of their home crowd.
Guelph’s strong start is mostly due in part to Nicklaus Huard’s play early in the season. The sophomore has had an offensive explosion, scoring seven goals and adding three assists. His 10 points ranks third in the CIS and tops in the OUA.
Their special teams have also been solid through four games. They’ve scored seven times and hold a 33.3 powerplay percentage, good for third in the CIS. Their penalty kill has also been good, sitting at 88.2 per cent.
Players to Watch:
Ryerson: Domenic Alberga
In his rookie campaign with the Rams, Alberga has made the jump from the OHL and made an immediate impact. Alberga has four goals in three games, which ranks third in the OUA. His seven points leaves him tied for third in the OUA in scoring. Playing on a line with Michael Fine (Toronto) and Jamie Wise (Stouffville, Ont.), the trio has combined for 19 points in three games.
Guelph: Nicklaus Huard
Much like with the MHL’s Woodstock Slammers, the offence with the Gryphons runs through Nicklaus Huard. A gifted offensive talent for the Gryphons, his goal scoring abilities will be a tough test for the Rams defence, which has given up 16 goals in three games.
Between the Pipes:
Ryerson: Adam Courchaine
After having to sit out the first three games of the season because of eligibility, Courchaine (Kanata, Ont.) is ready to make an impact. Last season, Courchaine played in three games for the Greenville Road Warriors of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), posting a 2-1 record with a 2.65 GAA and a .902 save percentage. Before Ryerson, Courchaine played three games with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Providence Bruins and two full seasons with the Alaska Aces (ECHL).
Guelph: Keith Hamilton
Hamilton has appeared in all four games to date for the Gryphons, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.73 GAA and .915 save percentage. The rookie goaltender played parts of the last three seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Portland Winterhawks and Victoria Royals before playing 22 games with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s (AJHL) Okotoks Oilers.
They Said It:
“It adds a bit of mystery. This is my third year but my first year playing against a lot of these teams. Before, we would go into McGill or Ottawa and know the tendencies of a lot of the players but now it’s different.” Brian Birkhoff on The Ramily Insider Episode 5, speaking about playing in the OUA West division.
In person: Mattamy Athletic Centre box office (open one hour before game time)
Follow the Game:
Online broadcast: Ryerson Rams Network
Live stats: oua.ca