The U of T Varsity Blues men’s hockey team began their quest for the Queen’s Cup with a 4–1 win against their crosstown rivals, the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold in game one of the first round of the playoffs at Maple Leaf Gardens Thursday night. The win was backstopped by Blues goaltender Jett Alexander, who made 41 saves en route to the victory.
Entering the series, the Varsity Blues were the underdogs against the fourth seeded Bold, who fell out of their playoff bye spot after struggling in the second half of the season. The Bold won the season series 2–1, but it was the Blues who came out on top in their last regular season matchup, beating the Bold 3–2.
It took the Blues over 10 minutes to register a shot in a Bold-heavy first period — they outshot the Blues 13–2. If it wasn’t for Alexander, the Blues could’ve been down big. His best save came when the Bold was on the power play — the puck was on the goal line when Bold forward Will Portokalis tried to bury the puck, but Alexander managed to keep it out.
Varsity Blues take game 1 thanks to Jett Alexander’s 41 saves. Game 2 is Saturday at Varsity Arena pic.twitter.com/FjOvfWRDbl
— Cole Hayes (@cole__hayes) February 17, 2023
Early in the second period, Blues forward Peyton Reeves broke out of the rough patch, ripping the puck top shelf past Bold goalie Kai Edmonds, for Reeve’s first goal of the playoffs. Later in the period, the Blues were on the powerplay and forward Cole Purboo, who was screening Edmonds, picked up forward Owen Robinson’s rebound to put the Blues up 2–0.
Halfway through the period, the intensity picked up at Maple Leaf Gardens when the Bold’s top line hemmed the Blues in the defensive zone and forward Connor Bowie cut the lead in half. Late in the period, the Bold got a breakaway, but Alexander made the stop, sending the Blues into intermission with the 2–1 lead.
Early in the third period, the Blues reclaimed a two-goal lead when forward Nicholas Wong beat Edmonds glove side to make it 3–1. Wong added to his goal total later after a weak wrist shot squeaked past Edmonds, giving U of T a 4–1 lead. The score remained 4–1 until the final buzzer, and the Blues celebrated a game one road win.