Reporter: Sean OLeary
It was a dominant night for the UOIT Ridgebacks men’s hockey team as they skated to a 6-1 victory over the Laurentian Voyageurs. The Ridgebacks picked up a much-needed two points, snapping a four-game losing streak.
It was a special night at the Campus Ice Centre, and not only because of the Ridgebacks’ strong performance. UOIT fundraised for Sick Kids Foundation, donating $2 of every ticket to the neurosurgical department of the Sick Kids Hospital. They also held a raffle for a hockey stick autographed by Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier, with all proceeds donated to the Sick Kids Foundation.
The fans had a lot to cheer about for the night, but the moment that brought them all to their feet was before the game when two-year-old Jackson, diagnosed with eosinophilia–myalgia syndrome (EMS) at only six months old, dropped the puck for the ceremonial face-off. Jackson received a standing ovation from the players and fans.
UOIT captain Luke Van Moerkerke and defenceman Matt Pasztor were also honoured before the game for their 100th games as Ridgebacks.
Once the game began, the Ridgebacks had to fight off an early Laurentian powerplay, but after it expired and UOIT finally managed offensive pressure, Mitch Bennett put away the loose puck in front of the net for the first goal of the game. The Ridgebacks weren’t done there, as Jesse Stoughton and Matt Paul both scored to give UOIT a 3-0 lead after the first period.
In the second period, Laurentian came out strong with a powerplay goal by Jordan Carroll, to cut the lead to 3-1, but UOIT responded with relentless offensive pressure, which rewarded Brendan Wise with a goal off a one-timer assisted by James Diminie, to make it 4-1 Ridgebacks.
Ten minutes later, Jesse Stoughton scored a short-handed goal for his second of the night. Stoughton finished with four points in only his fifth game of the season due to injuries. The line of Stoughton, Bennett and Paul was dominant all night, combining for eight points.
The Ridgebacks added one more in the third off the stick of defenceman Jeff Braithwaite, assisted by Jordan Ramsay and Dominic Crnogorac.