The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team pummelled the Queen’s Gaels 8–1 on Saturday night.
The game was never really close as Toronto dominated throughout and saw their record improve to 3–0–1 for the season.
“I thought we played quite well,” said head coach Darren Lowe. “We wanted to play quick and physical. We got that early lead which seemed to break their spirit.”
The star of the show for the Blues was Kyle Ventura, who scored four goals on the night and caused innumerable problems for the Gaels defense.
“I can’t take full credit,” said a modest Ventura. “My line-mates are giving me the puck and sometimes you get lucky. I’d say tonight I got lucky.”
“[Ventura] was struggling to score,” said Lowe. “He hadn’t scored yet so [the coaches] decided to have a talk with him the other day. We tried to encourage him to stay positive and keep working. The puck just seemed to keep going in tonight.”
The Blues had an excellent start to the game. Forward Jeff Brown began the scoring two minutes in and followed up his first goal six minutes later with a top corner shot that left Queen’s goalie Riley Whitlock helpless.
Ventura began his superb outing 12 minutes into the match when he deflected a shot and spun to backhand the puck into an open net for his first goal.
The Blues continued their dominance into the second period when Lane Werbowski received a pass from Tyler Liukkonen and fired it into the top corner of the net.
Ventura scored his second goal when a lucky bounce off the boards sent the puck onto the tip of his stick. Rob Kay followed with another goal with less than a minute in the period. The initial effort was saved, but the rebound came back to Kay who took his time and slotted it over the Queen’s goalie.
Unfortunately, Toronto goalie Brett Willows could not maintain the shutout and shortly into the third, Taylor Clements of Queen’s scored off a rebound.
The Blues’ Ventura quickly made the fans forget the Gaels goal and finished his hat-trick two minutes later by controlling the puck behind the net and wrapping it in. His fourth goal on the day had an element of luck to it. Six minutes into the final period, Ventura’s shot took a strange deflection yet somehow managed to still find its way into the back of the net.
The game was effectively over at this point. Toronto was happy to run down the clock and Queen’s looked like they wanted to return home to Kingston more than anything. It was an ugly game for Queen’s, previously undefeated.
“Queen’s is a good hockey team,” Lowe remarked. “They have great goal tending usually, but their goalie had an off night. They did play last night against Ryerson. I’m sure the next time, it won’t be like that. These are one-off games. We got lucky.”
“Every team we’re going to play this year is a tough outing. If we work hard and persevere, we’ll get results like this,” Ventura noted.
One of the key deciding factors in the game was penalties. Between the two teams, 73 penalty minutes were called. It was a very physical game that became nasty at times; one Toronto player was even ejected after a major cross checking penalty.
Despite the penalties, Toronto was satisfied with the result. But, the Blues claim they don’t want to relax with crucial matches coming up.
“We don’t want to get into any bad habits,” said Ventura. “When we blowout teams like that, we want to stick to our game plan. We don’t want to get into any bad habits for our next game.”
“There are some little things we have to take care of,” agreed Lowe. “We got a bit sloppy in the neutral zone at times and we had odd man rushes against us. In tight games, we can’t afford to do these things.
“We were lucky tonight to have a bit of a lead. We made some mistakes but overall we had good goal tending and we put the puck in the net.”
The Blues next task is to defeat Ryerson who are 2–2 on the season.