The Blues won a nail-biter against their rivals. MATTHEW AZEVEDO/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues men’s hockey team defeated their most fierce rival this Saturday in a thrilling fast-paced matchup. This win gave the Blues a 3–2 record, and vaulted them a point above Ryerson University in the Ontario University Athletics standings early in the season. 

Early in the first period, forward Oliver Benwell made a cross-ice pass to Toronto’s leading scorer David Thompson and one-timed the puck past Ryerson goalie Troy Timpano for an early 1–0 lead. The play got physical fast, and after a scrum in front of the net, Toronto forward Scott Kirton, and Ryerson’s Holden Cook were assessed offsetting roughing penalties, while Blues defenseman Riley Bruce was given an extra slashing penalty.

Though Toronto was able to kill off the Ryerson powerplay, Ryerson got a quick goal shortly after, as a shot from Cavin Leth was tipped in by forward Marcus Hinds. After Ryerson’s Matt Mistele was given a minor penalty, Toronto struck right back when a point shot from Toronto defenceman Evan MacEachern soared over the glove of Timpano to give Toronto a 2–1 lead. However, Toronto was unable to stay disciplined, as penalties from Riley Bruce and Scott Kirton gave Ryerson a 28-second five-on-three, which was all the time they needed to score the equalizer before the end of the first period.

In the second period, Kirton almost had a chance at redemption, stealing the puck from Ryerson defender Jered Walsh on the blue line to give himself a breakaway, but was ultimately unable to capitalize on it. Toronto was able to break the tie when Nathan Hudgin made a cross-ice pass right in front of the Ryerson net and gave Thompson an easy tap-in for his second goal of the game.

After a scramble in front of the Toronto net, Ryerson was able to put up another equalizer when Blues goalie Alex Bishop seemed to think it was kicked in, but after discussion between the referees it was ruled a goal. Toward the end of the period, Blues forward Kyle Potts used his size and speed to beat the Rams’ defenseman and tuck it in the net, regaining the lead.

In the third period, Ryerson was once again able to tie up the game, with a deflection in front of the net by forward David Miller. The Blues answered back with another goal of their own, with forward Hunter Atchison making a crisp cross-ice pass to Nathan Hudgin, who sniped it past Timpano for the go-ahead goal. Ryerson was able to get one more goal — a rebound shot in by forward Mathew Santos — to force overtime.

As is typically the case in three-on-three overtime, the play was very fast paced, with odd-man rushes going back and forth, and chances happening at each end. The Blues broke the deadlock when Hudgin made a backhand pass to defenseman Brendan Bornstein. Bornstein made a beautiful spinning backhand give-and-go pass back to Hudgin, who then corralled the puck with his skate and shot it past Timpano for the winning goal.

Thompson and Hudgin each had two goals, while forward Joey Manchurek quietly tallied three assists, and goalie Alex Bishop made 31 saves for the win. Toronto’s next home game will be on November 2, when they take on Laurentian University.

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