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Lakers battle hard but fall in shootout to Rams

Former Battalion star Mathew Santos scores the shootout winner for the Lakers

Playing shorthanded due to a slew of injuries, the Nipissing Lakers men's hockey team put together a strong effort Wednesday night on home ice.

The Lakers battled the Ryerson Rams at Memorial Gardens and earned a single, hard-fought point after a 3-2 shootout loss.

It was a former North Bay Battalion star who scored the lone goal in the three-round shootout as Mathew Santos made a nifty forehand to backhand deke that eluded Lakers goalie Talor Joseph for the eventual shootout game-winner.  

It was a victory of sorts for a Lakers team that had 10 players out with various injuries.  

"When we were down 2-0 in the first period, the game could have gotten out of hand and the guys could have felt sorry for themselves but a credit to the guys that were dressed and their character Wednesday night and good goaltending from Talor Joseph actually allowed us to hang around," said Lakers head coach Mike McParland.  

Former Flint Firebirds and Powassan Voodoos goaltender Garrett Forrest was perfect stopping all three shootout attempts by the Lakers. 

After a scoreless first half of the first period, the Rams struck twice in less than a minute to take a two-goal lead.

A pair of former OHLers, Hayden McCool and former Battalion defender Zach Shankar found the back of the net to give Ryerson early control of the game.

Former Battalion and Voodoos star Steve Harland added an assist on the McCool tally.  

Down 2-0 late in the second period, Lakers defenceman Harrison Harper sent a long cross-ice pass to Kyle Lewis who used his speed and entered the Rams zone.

He made no mistake, driving to the net and tucking the puck into the corner past Forrest to get the Lakers on the board.

The score remained 2-1 in favour of the Rams until five minutes left in the third period when Deverick Ottereyes took a perfect pass from Drake Lindsay and beat Garrett Forrest for the equalizer. 

Ottereyes out-muscled his man in front of the net and slid the puck home to even the game.

Cam Moore grabbed the second assist on the tying goal.

The veteran forward's goal sent the game to overtime as the teams were deadlocked 2-2 after 60 minutes.

Shots after regulation were 33-27 in favour of Ryerson.

Nipissing did a solid job defending the offensively talented Rams during the seven-minute 3-on-3 session including killing off an OT minor penalty to Dany Desrochers.  

After 67 minutes of hockey, the Rams led on the shot clock 37-30.

The Rams' Santos scored the lone goal on their third and final attempt in the shootout to claim the victory and extra point.

Talor Joseph was strong in net, making some big saves, turning aside a total of 35 shots and two more in the shootout while the Lakers fired 30 shots on the Rams net at Forrest, along with three more in the shootout.

The loss drops the Lakers record to 4-4-0-2. 

The Lakers men have a weekend off before they host the York Lions next Tuesday here in North Bay at Memorial Gardens.