In their final home game of the regular season on Friday night, the fourth ranked Varsity Blues women’s hockey team gave the number 11 York Lions a beating in a 6-2 victory at Varsity Arena.
The night began with the Blues honouring four departing fifth-year players: April Looije, Sonja Weidenfelder, Caitlin Mikawa, and Jacqueline Scheffel, who will all be graduating this year.
The mood in the arena shifted after the first period started, as forward Jacquline Scheffel maximized the Blues first power play, beating York’s defensemen and putting her fourth goal of the year past Lions netminder Eva Hall.
Despite having to kill two penalties, the Blues continued to dominate the Lions. They added one more goal before the end of the period, as fourth-year favourite Taylor Day got a hold of defensemen Rebecca Bourgeois’ rebound and buried it in the back door.
The Lions’ frustration appeared to hit a boiling point in the second period when they earned their first of four penalties, only 49 seconds into the frame. The Blues notched three penalties of their own in the period but came through unscathed, as their penalty kill shut the Lions down.
On their final power play opportunity of the period, Day showed she still had some left in the tank as she effortlessly broke past York’s defense and scored her second of the game and fourteenth of the season. Meagan O’Brien widened the gap to four before the close of the frame as she threw a rocket over the shoulder of York’s rookie goaltender.
Halfway through the third period, second-year forward Lauren Straatman increased the Blues’ lead to five, with an impressive play that beat York goalie on her blocker side.
Despite being down by five, the Lions appeared eager to break the shut-out by pulling their goalie with just over eight minutes left in the period. The pulled goalie added an extra attacker to the York team who were already on a power play, making it six on three.
The Blues answered the call as their penalty kill remarkably limited the Lions’ chances, while goaltender Yordanov made some incredible saves. Blues’ team captain Kristi Riseley rounded off the scoring with an empty net goal. With less then two minutes remaining, Lions forwards Lauren Cavarzan and Kristen Barbara spoiled the Blues’ shut-out with two quick goals.
The 6-2 victory secured the Blues’ a second place berth in the OUA standings and awarded the team a home ice advantage in the first round of the OUA playoffs.