The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team dropped game one of the second round of the Queen’s Cup playoffs, losing 3–5 to the first seed Lakehead Thunderwolves. The Blues are now trailing 1-0 in the best-of-three series and needed two wins on the road to keep their season alive. 

What happened 

It was a fast-paced, physical start to the game. The Thunderwolves struck first after forward Ben Badalamenti’s wrist shot beat Blues goalie Jett Alexander to give the Thunderwolves a 1–0 just over five minutes into the series. Despite the Blues having a great first period, the Thunderwolves doubled their lead; after getting traffic in front of Alexander, forward Geoff Dempster buried the loose puck giving Lakehead a 2–0 lead. 

The second period was one of the best periods the Blues played all season, dominating the pace of play over a strong Thunderwolves squad. Blues forward Kyle Potts cashed in on fellow forward Nicholas Wong’s pass from behind the goalline to cut the deficit in half. 

On the penalty kill midway through the second period, the Blues and Varsity Arena were buzzing. Blues forward Cole Purboo got a standing ovation for keeping the puck in the Thunderwolves zone meanwhile forwards Billy Moskal and Owen Robinson both generated scoring chances. After killing the penalty, Blues defender Quinn Hanna got the equalizer for the Blues, and the Blues were cruising. 

Early in the third, Thunderwolves regained the lead after forward Keighan Gerrie capitalized on a mistake, making it 3–2. Things unravelled for the Blues afterward. Thunderwolves forward Spencer Blackwell slid into Alexander and Blues forward Ross Krieger cross checked Blackwell in the face, giving the Thunderwolves a power play. Alexander was shaken up on the play but stayed in the game. On the ensuing powerplay, Blackwell scored to make it 4–2 before adding a shorthanded goal later to give the Thunderwolves a 5–2 lead.

“I thought there were parts of our game that were good tonight. I really liked our first period despite the score, obviously [we] found a way to get back into it in the second, but then just a very undisciplined game in a lot of different areas in the third [cost us],” said Blues Head Coach Ryan Medel. 

Purboo scored to make it 5–3, but the Thunderwolves held off the Blues’ comeback attempt, winning the game. 

“We’ve been in this spot before. Sunday was an elimination possibility and we saw our best, so all we need to worry about right now is winning the next game,” said Medel on the mindset going into game two.