A promising start turned to crushing defeat as the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team fell to the York Lions 5-1 on Saturday. The Blues had a strong opening in the first period, with many close calls for York goalie Sydney McMurter. Halfway through however, York forward Mandy Cole opened scoring and ended the period with York in the lead by one point.

Cole then went on a rampage, gaining a hat trick in the second period. In all three goals, two other Lions assisted Cole. Forward Courtney Unruh assisted all three times, with defender Kelsey Webster assisting the first two goals and forward Amanda McBride the third, creating an effective three-way punch through Toronto’s defences.

It was an aggressive game, even by the standards of the sport. York took 11 penalties, with everything from interference and body checks to hooking and slashing. The Blues ended the game with five penalties of equal variety. Blues forward Lindsay Hill took a particularly hard body check from York forward Jennifer Petkovics, who took the only five-minute penalty for the infraction. Blues forward Darby Smith also had to leave the ice after being hit. Thankfully, neither she nor Hill were seriously hurt.

A glimmer of hope for the Blues came in the third period via third-year Hill, who made the one and only Blues goal, assisted by fellow third-year forward Amanda Fawns. As if to dash those hopes, York responded less than two minutes later with a fifth goal by Unruh, finishing the game with a score of 5-1.

Hill, who was named Varsity Blues player of the game, said it was a tough loss, but she is confident that the Blues can turn it around. “We started off hard [but] we got down on ourselves and then it was just hard to come back from there,” she said. “We have two big games next weekend, so we’ll bounce back on the road and get back on track.”

The Blues will take on the Guelph Gryphons and the Brock Badgers next weekend.

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