Varsity Blues women blow out Lions 7–0 in home opener

Varsity Arena hosted the Toronto Varsity Blues women’s hockey team home opener on Thursday, seeing a dominant 7–0 win against York. The score opened with rookie Louie Bieman scoring on the power play, off of a scramble in front of the net. Shortly after, Blues forward Kassie Roache made a pass from behind the York net to Lauren Straatman, for the one-timer goal. This was Roache’s second assist of the night.

York tried to score a goal to make the score 2–1 off of a scramble in front of the net. It was called a goal on the ice, but upon further discussion among the referees, they decided that the puck had never crossed the line. The Blues dominated York’s end, out-shooting them 11–2 in the first period.

The Blues’ dominance continued in the second period with Bieman scoring an unassisted goal, and her second of the night, on the power play. Toronto goalie Madeline Albert stopped all 10 shots this period, after only having faced two in the first. Toward the end of the second period, O’Brien scored off of a rebound to make it 4–0 for the Blues.

Toronto’s offense continued to dominate in the third period as Cristine Chao scored off another rebound. O’Brien scored her second of the night midway through the period, making the score 6–0 for the Blues.

Following the sixth goal, York forward Tayler Murphy was injured in a collision in front of the York net. She lay on the ice until paramedics arrived and took her off on a stretcher.

When the game resumed, York pulled their goalie and maintained pressure in Toronto’s zone. Albert made some key stops to keep her shutout intact. Laura Ellis scored an empty net goal with 50 seconds remaining in the game to make the score 7–0 for the Blues.

—Silas Le Blanc

Blues captain Charlie Connell to circle around the net.

Blues men victorious in home opener

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues men’s hockey team had a thrilling 2–1 victory over the Queen’s Gaels in their home opener on October 20.

The victory followed a 3–1 victory over Waterloo on October 13, in which Ryan Mendel made his head-coaching debut for the Blues. Mendel spent the previous seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Carleton Ravens.

There was excitement in the stands as many students came out to support their Varsity Blues. Queen’s dominated the first period with numerous scoring chances. First-year goaltender Frederic Foulem was up to the task, saving 15 shots Queen’s fired at him in the period.

Despite the Gaels’ domination, the Blues were able to convert on the power play as second-year kinesiology major Evan MacEachern scored on a shot from the point to give the Blues a 1–0 lead. Matt Campagna and Aidan Wallace were credited with the assists.

The second period was fast-paced and evenly matched, with both teams having strong scoring chances. Both teams killed off two penalties in the second period and the Blues entered the third period with their lead intact. But just four minutes into to the third period Queen’s tied it up with a goal from Luke Bertolucci.

Shortly thereafter, the Blues took a penalty but were able to prevent Queen’s from scoring in large part due to a relentless effort from second-year Curtis Harvey. Harvey pressed the puck against the wall in the Gaels’ zone holding off four Gaels who tried to pry the puck lose.

The rest of the third period was full of tension as each side tried to break the deadlock. With the game tied 1–1 at the end of regulation the game headed to overtime. The three-on-three format in overtime opened up the ice and created multiple thrilling scoring chances on both sides.

Finally, Evan MacEachern picked the puck up in the Blues zone and blazed down the ice scoring top corner to give the Blues the 2–1 victory. The Blues are now 2-0 on the season and will look to build this momentum moving forward.

—Joseph Rossi

Russell Rodrigues looks to play the ball across the box.

Blues men have no answer for Ridgebacks’ third period comeback

The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team led for the majority of the game against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks on Saturday night at Varsity Arena, but they gave up three goals in the third period, dropping the game 3–2.

The Blues got off to a bit of a slow start in the first period, logging only two shots to UOIT’s eight midway through the frame. Toronto picked it up in the second half of the period and were rewarded for their hard work when they found a way to the back of the net. Ryan Kirkup began the play, streaking into the Ridgebacks zone down the left wing and, along with Connor Graham, claimed assists for Luca Leone, who buried the goal past Ridgebacks netminder Tyson Teichmann with some neat stick-work. The period ended 1–0 Blues, although the shot clock still favoured the Ridgebacks at nine to seven.

Although the shots in the second period were dead even, the Blues added to their lead, off a power-play tally from Aidan Wallace, assisted by Willy Paul and Evan MacEachern. The goal came off a hooking call to the Ridgebacks’ Spencer Roberts. Both teams had an aggressive period, driving hard to the net, which resulted in a few minor net-side scrums that referees needed to break up. The shots were 14-16 for the Ridgebacks when the buzzer sounded to end the second, but the Blues still held the lead at 2–0.

Both teams came out hard in the third period. Kirkup had a near breakaway in the early minutes, and the play led to a slashing penalty to Ridgebacks captain Danny Elser.

Play was held up for a few minutes before the Blues began their power play due to an injury on the play – UOIT’s Mike Robinson was helped off the ice, but he returned later in the game. On the ensuing Blues power play, Josh Maguire sniped home a beautifully placed shorthanded goal for the Ridgebacks going bar-down and chopping the Blues’ lead in half.

The goal seemed to invigorate the Ridgebacks, and they pressed hard, searching for the equalizer. The Blues responded but were unable to find the back of the net on two different two-on-one chances, and soon they were forced to the penalty-kill once again, after a hooking penalty to captain Charlie Connell. UOIT took advantage, with Robinson capitalizing off a big rebound, tying the game at two goals apiece.

The Ridgebacks took their first lead of the game less than a minute later, with Elser burying the pass from Ben Blasko on a two-on-one.

Both teams continued to press hard for the rest of the period, and although Blues goalie Frederic Foulem made some big saves to keep them within one, the Blues were unable to come back and the final whistle sounded with the Ridgebacks still up one.

The final score was 3–2 for UOIT, with the shots on goal finishing at 28-19 in favour of the Ridgebacks.

The Blues men’s next home game is against York University on October 27, while the women’s team returns to Varsity Arena on November 4 against Brock University.

 —Rachel Quade