The Varsity Blues women’s hockey team faced a shocking defeat at the hands of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks on January 10. The Blues — ranked fourth in the country — lost a 3–2 decision to the Hawks in a shoot-out at Varsity Arena. In spite of this loss, they’re still at first place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Conference.
The Blues knew they were in for a rough match when Laurier started off with a pair of early penalties for tripping and cross-checking. While the Blues were unable to capitalize off their powerplays, Laurier took advantage of a Blues penalty by sliding a tricky shot past Blues goaltender Madeline Albert close to the five-minute mark. More penalties to both teams riddled the intense first period. Despite strong offensive efforts by forwards Laura Ellis and Adrianna Noble, the first period finished with Laurier scoring the only goal.
The second period saw another flurry of penalties, but this time Toronto was successful in punishing their opponents’ mistakes. Gabrielle De Serres had plenty of time and space during the power play and used it to send the puck into the Hawks’ goal crease. Blues’ Breanna Berndsen also shouldered off her defender to knock home Cristine Chao’s rebound.
Using their momentum and physicality to further press the Hawks — and withstand their powerplays — Toronto squeaked in a second goal with barely a second left.
After winning the faceoff of the third period, Chao received the puck and sent it toward the net, where Madelyn Walsh deflected it past the Laurier goalie.
Unfortunately, Toronto was unable to maintain their lead, despite Albert’s impressive goaltending. Overtime — where Albert once again shone, robbing Laurier of any chances to score — solved nothing and the game headed toward a shootout. Both goalies were impressive, with each turning away five shooters before Laurier finally got one past Albert. Ultimately, Noble was unable to score, and Laurier stole the win.
Toronto will spend their next three matches on the road before they return to Varsity Arena on January 23 to play their crosstown rival, Ryerson University.