The Varsity Blues men’s ice hockey team broke out of their four game losing streak on January 14 with a 3–1 win over the Guelph Gryphons at the Varsity Arena. Coming into the game, the Blues had already beaten the Gryphons in November, but the two teams were very close to each other on the standings, with the Blues a mere three points above the bottom ranked Gryphons.
Cole Purboo’s shot on net in the first minute of the game was indicative of how the Blues were going to play all game: relentless pressure met with many shots on goal. Despite this, the Gryphons’ goaltender, Cregan Brendan, did a good job keeping the puck out of the net in the first period, with a whopping 14 saves.
It took the Blues about 15 minutes to find the tweed, and defenseman Ryan Barbosa did just that. A pass from forward Ross Krieger during the power play found Barbosa’s left skate as he kicked the puck out to his stick, and let one rip from the blue line. The puck sailed past the goalie, hit the top post and ricocheted into the goal. 1–0 in Blues’ favour.
The Blues played with more defensive astuteness as the game progressed, and in the second period slowed down their relentless attack on offense. There was an apprehensiveness amongst the players — they were dominating and didn’t want to let another goal in on their end, but they were hungry for another goal.
They indeed managed to get a goal after Krieger took over. He glided down the ice during the 13th minute of the second period and fired one at the goalie from the right wing. The goalie deflected the shot right out to defenseman Quinn Hanna, who easily tapped in the close range shot. 2–0 Blues.
Going into the third period, the Blues played a lot more defensively. Knowing they were up by two, they parked the bus. However, the Gryphons’ offense responded with increased pressure, and if it wasn’t for goaltender Alexander Jett’s incredible 15 saves in the third period, the end score of the game could have looked a lot different.
The Gryphons’ Nolan DeGurse cut the lead in half with three minutes to go in the third period. The power play goal made everything more intense. As DeGurse sliced through the ice and toward Jett, Hanna dived in front of the goal with hopes of stopping the incoming shot. However, instead of shooting, DeGurse juked Hanna, brought the puck to the other side and tapped it in.
Luckily, the Blues came back to secure the win with a goal late in the third period. With 30 seconds left, the Gryphons pulled Creghan from the goal in order to have five players attacking for a chance of equalizing. This quickly backfired on them when the Blues regained possession and passed the ball up to Krieger, who blasted the puck into an open net.
The Blues will take on the York Lions on January 19 at Varsity Arena. The Lions are currently ranked right below the Blues in sixth place, and the Blues had won the last time the two teams faced off, in November 2022.