The U of T Varsity Blues men’s hockey team lost to the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold 1–0 in game two of the first round of the Queen’s Cup playoffs on February 18. The Battle of Toronto will be decided by a winner-takes-all game three.
After taking game one on the road, the Blues didn’t start with the intensity they were looking for at the Varsity Arena, as defenseman Ryan Barbosa’s interference penalty put the Bold on the powerplay just 37 seconds into the game. The Blues killed off Barbosa’s penalty and gained some momentum; however, that did not last long. They once again found themselves on the wrong end of a penalty kill after forward Ben Woodhouse tripped Bold goaltender Kai Edmonds.
It was a back-and-forth first period, but it was the Bold who struck first when their forward Kevin Gursoy snuck behind the Blues’ defense and buried the cross-crease pass past goaltender Jett Alexander to put the Bold up 1–0. The physicality picked up in the second half of the period but the score remained the same going into intermission.
TMU strikes first
— The Varsity Sports (@uoft_TV_sports) February 18, 2023
The second period saw no goals, but the Blues had their chances. Edmonds robbed both forwards Owen Guy and Cole Purboo on point-blank chances, while Nicholas Wong beat Edmonds at glove side but not at the crossbar — keeping the game at 1–0 after the second period.
The third period was another back-and-forth duel, physical hockey with both Alexander and Edmonds making great saves, but the Blues couldn’t tie the game and the Bold kept their season alive with the victory and forced a game three.
“Everybody dreams about playing in elimination games,” said Blues captain Colin Paradis in a post game interview with The Varsity.
Both Paradis and Blues Head Coach Ryan Medel highlighted that one of the keys to success for the Blues in game three will be getting traffic in front of Edmonds, who stopped all 27 Blues shots in game two.
“You have to get traffic for sure. I thought we were just okay at that tonight. You have to have a net presence on him, he’s gonna stop what he sees. So just being a little quicker to get to the net for any secondary chances that might be there,” said Medel.
Medel’s message going into game three is that it’s another opportunity for the Blues.
“It’s another opportunity. The way our year has gone — we’ve had ups, we’ve had downs, and we’ve had to find our own way and claw back. We’ve had our backs against the walls more than one time. It’s just another opportunity to come together as a group and be at our best. We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Medel.