The Varsity Blues women’s hockey team played their second night of a back-to-back series against the Guelph Gryphons at Varsity Arena on Saturday, January 13. Fatigue may have been the deciding factor as the Blues offence failed to score, allowing the Gryphons to extend their six-game winning streak with a 3-0 shutout win.
The Gryphons’ offence was on par with the Blues at 30 to 27 shots, but they took greater advantage of their opportunities, with Sydney Davison tipping in a shot to give them a one-goal lead with 5:22 left in the first period.
Toronto’s goalie Valencia Yordanov made a valiant effort, saving 27 of 29 shots. Nevertheless, the Blues proved to be no match for Gryphons goalie Valerie Lamenta, who saved all 27 shots in her direction.
Toronto’s defensive skills showed in the second period, as the Blues were short-handed three times but managed to mostly stop the Gryphons from capitalizing. Yordanov was vital to shutting out Guelph’s offence for the majority of the second period. However, with 30 seconds left in the period, Claire Merrick tipped in another shot from the point, giving the Gryphons a commanding 2-0 lead to head into the third period.
Guelph’s Kaitlin Lowy ended any chance of a comeback with an empty net goal in the final minute, her 12th of the season.
“We have to give Guelph’s defence a bit of respect, but at the end of the day we had a 5-on-3 and didn’t score. We had a couple of power plays and a bunch of shots on net, but our goal really was to get the puck in the net,” said Blues player Becki Bowering.
The Blues are now 4-7 in their last 11 games and currently hold the sixth seed in the conference.
“Right now we’re just trying to make the playoffs,” Bowering said about the team’s future goals. “We’re trying to win as many as we can.”
“We’re playing Guelph on Wednesday, which is kind of nice. We’ve learned what we need to do and we’re going to focus on putting the puck in the net, taking care of our defensive zones and not letting them skate around us.”
The Blues also lost 3-4 in overtime in a rematch on Wednesday, January 17 at Gryphon Centre arena.