On September 14, the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team played their first exhibition match of the season at Varsity Arena against the York University Lions. It was a solid performance overall, and the reigning McCaw Cup champions defeated the Lions 7–4.
It was a great start to the game for the Blues, as their offense scored four goals in the first period. New Blues forward Abby Whitworth scored the first goal with an assist from defender Madison Tiro. Whitworth’s performance was great, and she worked well with the team dynamic.
Just minutes later, Blues forward Emma Elders scored the Blues’ second goal with no assist. To round off period one, Blues captain Taylor Trussler and defender Aubery Cole scored two separate power-play goals. Yet the Lions had also scored two goals in the period, placing the team at 4–2 as they began the second period.
The second period was a struggle. While the period began with a Blues goal from forward Katy McKenna, the team quickly received two penalties. The first penalty was served to Cole for cross-checking, and the second penalty was handed to forward Abby Howland for boarding, just minutes later.
Despite these penalty issues, the second period ended with U of T still holding a 5–2 lead. Overall, it was evident that the Blues’ morale was high, and they set up to secure the win in the third period.
Tension filled the final period. With the Blues eager to win and the Lions working to make a comeback, the game’s pace quickened. With 15 minutes left in the game, the Blues were handed a significant advantage, as Lions defender Ava Ricker-Singh received a 10-minute misconduct penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The advantage allowed Blues forward Juliette Blas-Savoie to score a power-play goal, and the team took a dominant 6–2 lead. Minutes later, Blues forward Sophie Graburger scored the Blues’ seventh goal. However, the Lions continued to fight, scoring two goals near the end of the third period.
Overall, the Lions made a total of 21 shots on goal, with the Blues’ goalies, Madison Roche and rookie Carlee Vance, making a combined 17 saves.
In a postgame interview with The Varsity, Trussler praised their first-year players, including Vance, who got to have an amazing opportunity to play and show their skills.
Next, the Blues will travel to play Princeton University Tigers on September 22. Two days later, the team will play against the Cornell University Big Red in Ithaca, New York.