On February 25, the U of T Varsity Blues women’s hockey team defeated the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold 4–2 in game two of the McCaw Cup quarterfinals, sweeping their crosstown rivals and advancing to the semifinals.
The Blues played ‘Blues Hockey’ in game two, a brand of hockey that prioritizes hardwork and playing as a team.
“We have some skill which is great, but we focus on the heart and the hard work, and I think that gets us further than anything else. That’s what ‘Blues Hockey is,’ ” said Blues forward Natasha Athanasakos in a post-game interview with The Varsity.
This brand of hockey is what helped them grind out a win Saturday afternoon.
Blues’ defender Caroline Eagles found herself all over the scoresheet in the first period. Three minutes into the game, Eagles was sent to the box for interference, giving TMU an early power play. Shortly after the Blues killed the penalty, it was Eagles who gave them a 1–0 lead after her point shot made its way through traffic past Bold goaltender Lauren Griffin.
The Bold managed to tie the game when Payton Kerr’s one-timer goal beat Blues goaltender Madeline Albert. The Blues regained a 2–1 lead shortly after a weak shot from Laura MacDonnell fluttered its way through traffic past Griffin.
In the second period, Bold captain Madison Lalonde hit defender Madelyn Walsh from behind. Walsh was down for several minutes as trainers attended to her, but luckily Walsh was able to skate off with support from Céline Frappier and eventually returned to the game in the third period. Lalonde was assessed a five-minute major penalty and was ejected from the game.
With 15 seconds left in the second period, Brooklyn Gemmill floated a wrist shot from the blueline that beat Albert to tie the game 2–2 going into second intermission.
Moving into the third period, Emma Potter emerged as the hero for the Blues when her blue line shot sailed past Griffin, giving the Blues a 3–2 lead. Centre Kaitlyn McNight’s empty-net goal gave the Blues a 4–2 lead, sealing their fate and punching their ticket to the semi finals.
“We’re just gonna keep going. Stick to our game plan… and go as far as we can,” Athanasakos said.
The Blues will look to compete in the semi final game on March 1. The location and team they will be playing against is undecided at the time of writing this piece. If the Blues keep playing their brand of hockey, the second ranked team in the country can accomplish special things in these playoffs.