As a win in October is just as important as a win in February, the Varsity Blues may be regretting their latest loss.
A win would have pushed the Blues into second place in the Ontario University Athletics East Division, with a Saturday night game against winless Concordia looming.
The possibility of a 4-2 start was very real. But that didn’t happen.
The Blues led 2-0 after one, but watched the Ravens score two in the second and two in the third period en route to a 4-2 win at Varsity Arena on Friday night.
Blues defenceman Brendan Sherrard was very pragmatic about the loss.
“Every win is nice to get,” said Sherrard, who grabbed an assist on the first Blues goal. “We just got to take [the loss] in stride. You lose on one Friday and you can’t really dwell on it. You have to turn it around and come back on Saturday, and come even harder to get that [win].”
The Blues took a 1-0 lead on a five-on-three power play 4:05 into the opening stanza. Eddie Snetsinger scored his first goal when he took a pass from Sherrard and ripped a wrist shot that whizzed by screened Ravens starter Ryan Dube. Toronto then went 1-6 with the man advantage.
Toronto pushed the lead to 2-0 at 15:54 of the first period, when Joe Rand cashed in a rebound off a Byron Elliot point shot. Dube kicked the rebound in the high slot and Rand threw the puck over the goalie for his second point of the year. Dube stopped 44, netting his first win of the year.
The Ravens made the score 2-1 over a minute into the second period when Derek Wells lifted a rebound over a fallen Toronto goalie Andrew Martin for his third goal this year. Martin ended the night stopping 26 and evened his record at 2-2.
Wells was standing wide open to the right of Martin, and had all day to lift the puck over the Toronto goalie.
“We were puck watching,” Sherrard said. “Our second forward up high was looking at the puck instead of looking where his man should be.”
The goal was the final straw for Toronto, as far as head coach Darren Lowe was concerned. He thought his team sagged towards the back end of the first period, and continued sluggishly into the second.
“The thing that led up to that [first Carleton goal] was we had a poor last two-and-a-half minutes of the first period,” Lowe said. “I think it just carried over to the second period and they scored right away.”
Following an interference call to Rand, Carleton tied up the game at 2-2 with a power-play goal at 11:40 of the middle frame. Brett Halstead took a pass from Andrew Self and beat Martin through a maze of legs with a one-timer. The tally was the first power-play goal allowed by the Blues in 20 chances this year.
“We just didn’t get in the shooting lane,” Lowe said. “We were just a little slow to get there and [Halstead] was able to get the puck to the net and the goalie [Martin] couldn’t see it.”
Mike Byrd scored the winner on the man advantage at 9:15 of the third period. He collected an errant shot off the backboards and deposited the puck into the net before Martin could get his left leg against the post. The Ravens went 2-4 with the man advantage.
“When a team has a power play that is that strong [nine goals in five games] you’re not going to hold them forever. I think that was part of it,” Lowe said.
Carlton increased the lead to 4-2 at 13:03 of the final period when Yves Bastien picked up a loose puck in the slot and skated around a falling Martin before putting it into the empty net with a backhand for his second point of the season.
Dube turned away 17 shots in the third period, sealing the deal.
“We kind of gave it [the victory] to them,” Sherrard said. “They buried their chances and we didn’t.”