The U of T Varsity Blues men’s hockey team defeated the Waterloo Warriors 3–2 in overtime at Varsity Arena on January 21. The Blues picked up a crucial two points and are now in fifth place in the Ontario University Athletics West.
It was a disastrous start for the Blues. They took a hooking penalty 28 seconds into the game and the first shot of the game went past goalie Jett Alexander to give Waterloo an early 1–0 lead. The Blues had trouble gaining momentum in the first period; they took four penalties and had to kill off two five-on-three penalties.
Defenceman Ryan Barbosa was the hero for U of T in the first period. He put his body on the line and blocked four Waterloo shots on the five on three. Barbosa said that his mindset here was knowing his role on the penalty kill.
“Five on three, the first thing you’re thinking about is just trying to get in front of a puck so Jett can do his job,” Barbosa told The Varsity.
While the penalty kill got the Blues some momentum, acting Head Coach Andrew Dovery said that the message at first intermission was to stay out of the penalty box.
The Blues were a different team in the second period. They came out flying, generating tons of chances early and tied the game at one when Cole Purboo danced around Waterloo goaltender Dan Murphy. The Blues weren’t done, however, because Eddie Yan scored late in the second period to give the Blues a 2–1 lead. The Warriors scored a late goal in the second on the powerplay and the score was knotted at two after two.
Despite the Blues generating a few scoring chances in the third period — including one where Connor Matton was robbed by Murphy on a two on one — the score remained 2–2 and the game went to overtime.
In overtime, Yan picked up a loose puck in front of the net, beating Murphy for his second goal of the afternoon, and more importantly securing a big two points for the Blues.
“He was excellent. Truthfully, he’s been a little quieter than what we’d have liked, but he rose to the occasion tonight,” Dovery said about Yan’s performance. “I thought he was moving his feet all night and on top of that he came up with a big goal at the end. We challenged him this week to elevate [his game] and he certainly did that tonight.”
After Saturday’s big win, the Blues will look to build off the momentum they got from the win next weekend with games against Brock and Toronto Metropolitan University. With playoffs quickly approaching, each performance is key.