The University of Toronto Varsity Blues women’s hockey team dropped game two of the McCaw Cup semifinals on March 4, losing 2–1 to the Guelph Gryphons on the road. The loss ties the series at one and there will be a deciding game three on March 5 at Varsity Arena, with the winner advancing to the McCaw Cup final.
Gryphons goaltender Martina Fedel made 30 saves and kept the Gryphons in the game. A third period goal from centre Jaime Magoffin was the difference maker in keeping their season alive.
The Blues had three power plays in the first period but couldn’t capitalise on any of them. The powerplay wasn’t as dangerous as it has been this season for the Blues. Their one good scoring chance came from Blues forward Nikki McDonald who had a wide open net after Blues defender Caroline Eagles’ shot was stopped by Fedel. Unfortunately, McDonald’s shot soared over the net, keeping the game scoreless. The Gryphons had the best scoring chance of the first period when Gryphons forward Chihiro Suzuki beat Blues goaltender Erica Fryer but not the post, keeping a clean sheet going into intermission.
The second period saw centre Kaitlyn McNight continue her stellar playoffs for the Blues and give the Blues a 1–0 lead. McDonald’s initial shot was stopped by Fedel but McNight was on the doorstep to beat the Gryphons netminder and finally break the ice midway through the game.
Five minutes later Guelph tied the game. The Gryphons generated pressure in the offensive zone, overpowering the Blues defence. Gryphons forward Vanessa Bueti picked up the puck in front of the net and tied the game at one going after two periods of play.
In the third period the intensity picked up in the Gryphon Centre Arena. Suzuki got the first dangerous chance period generating her own rebound but Fryer had two big saves to keep the game tied at one.
With 6:20 remaining in the third Gryphons forward Jaime Magoffin ended up being the hero of the night. Magoffin snuck behind picking up a backdoor pass and beat Fryer to give the Gryphons a late 2–1 lead.
The Blues had an opportunity to tie the game late with a powerplay opportunity when the Gryphons forward Maeve Sutherland-Case took her third penalty of the game, but they couldn’t capitalise.
The Blues pushed for the equaliser but the Gryphons did a good job at forcing the Blues offence to the outside and Fedel came up big when needed, icing the game for the Gryphons and keeping their season alive with a 2-1 win.
A winner-take-all game three will happen Sunday afternoon at Varsity Arena with the winner moving on to face Nipissing in the McCaw Cup final. Puck drop is at 4:00p.m.