Blues forward Ryan Kirkup attempts to feed the puck to a teammate. PHOTOS BY SEYRAN MAMMADOV, COURTESY OF THE VARSITY BLUES

The Varsity Blues men’s hockey’s 4–3 win against the Ryerson Rams on Saturday marks the team’s third straight home ice victory. Toronto lost an early lead but came back to beat the Rams for the first time this season.

The Blues took the lead two minutes into the game, when defenseman Corey Jackson registered a quick slap shot from high slot. Halfway through the first period, the Blues looked to improve on their power-play — ranked 19th in the OUA — after the Rams were called for too many men.

Failing to score on their first power play due to Ryerson’s speed and ability to close down space, Toronto went back on the power play with four minutes remaining in the first period. A shot from Blues forward Matt Campagna was robbed by the stick of a diving Rams goaltender Taylor Dupuis with only a few seconds left in a one-man advantage.

Campagna opened the second period scoring off a scramble in front of the Ryerson goal in the second minute of play, marking his third goal of the weekend. Following the goal, the physical game opened up, with hits from Charlie Connell, Justin Brand, and Corey Jackson exciting the players on both benches.

Eight minutes into the second period, Ryerson forward Erik DeLaurentis fired a shot over the shoulder of first-year Blues goalie Frederic Foulem to open the scoring for the Rams. Ryerson then added two quick goals later in the period: in the 13th minute, Steven Harlan dogged a sprawling Blues defender and rifled the puck into the top of the net and, two minutes later, Aaron Armstrong capitalized on a scrambling Toronto penalty kill to put the Rams up 3–2.

Nearing the end of the period, Blues forward Connor Bebb rushed the Rams net, narrowly missing but drawing a penalty. On the power play, Hunter Atchison beat a sliding Dupuis to tie the game at three with two minutes remaining in the second period — a key goal for the Blues, disrupting the Rams’ momentum heading into the second intermission.

The third period began with quick end-to-end passing and strong defense by both teams. Seven minutes into the period, the Blues stole the puck and in a four-on-two rush, Hunter Atchison dropped the puck to Ryan Kirkup, who found the net with a shot under the arm of Dupuis.

As the clock wound down, Ryerson rallied to find a goal; Blues defender Willy Paul made a clutch shot block with three minutes to go. Rams head coach Jonny Duco pulled Dupuis with 50 seconds to go, but the Blues held on to win the game 4–3.

The Blues return to home ice this weekend hosting the Guelph Gryphons on January 26, and they will also host a rematch against the Rams on January 27.

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