The U of T Varsity Blues women’s ice hockey team kicked off the second half of the 2022–2023 season with a 3–0 victory over the York Lions at Varsity Arena on January 6. The two teams found themselves at separate ends of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East standings as the Blues entered the game in first place in the OUA with an 11-2-0 record while Lions were in last with a 3-10-1 record. The game was also the season debut for Blues’ captain Taylor Trussler, who missed the first half of the season due to an injury. 

What happened

The Blues dominated the game from start to finish and flew out of the gate. They drew an early penalty for head contact, and on their first power-play of 2023, Olivia Hilton tipped in a Natasha Athanasakos point shot that made its way through traffic and into the back of the net to give the Blues an early 1–0 lead! The rest of the first period was a low-event ice hockey game, but there was tension that, at some point, the game would open up, which it did. 

Early in the penalty-filled second period, the Blues capitalized on a Lions turnover when Celine Frappier chipped the puck ahead to Nikki Mcdonald, who set up Sophie Grawbarger for a cross-crease one-timer to put the Blues ahead 2–0. 

Late in the second, Trussler stormed her way through the Lions before drawing a hooking penalty to give the Blues a 5-on-3 power-play. On that power-play, Grawbarger buried a rebound for her second goal of the game, giving the Blues a 3–0 lead. 

Lions started to get some offense going in the third period but Blues’ goalie Madeline Albert was up to the task stopping all 12 shots she faced and the Blues kicked off the second half of their season with a 3–0 win against Lions. 

What’s next

With some new momentum after their win against Lions, the Blues now look ahead to their match against Nipissing Lakers, who sit one point behind them in the OUA East standings. Puck drop is at 3:00 pm on Sunday, January 8 at the Varsity Arena.