On October 13, the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team lost 4–1 in a rough game against the Nipissing Lakers in their home opener.
The Blues and Lakers had a tight rivalry last season, with the latter winning two out of their three games against the Blues during the regular season. Yet, later in the season, the Blues dramatically defeated the Lakers 2–1 to win the McCaw Cup. As a result, this Friday, the Blues were on track for a tough match from the start.
The Lakers got an early lead as their forward Emma Thomas scored in the first minute. The Lakers then scored two more goals in the first period, both on the power-play. The Blues went to the power-play three times but could not score. This left them trailing by three as the second period opened.
The second period included many challenges for the Blues, and two minutes in, the Lakers secured yet another goal — their fourth of the game. However, as the game progressed, second-year forward Emma Elders was able to sink in the Blues’ first goal of the game, and the season, with the help of defender Aubrey Cole and forward Juliette Blais-Savoie.
In the third period, both teams had many good shots that both goalies saved, but the Blues were pressing for a comeback win. They were aggressive and the referees handed out four penalties throughout the period. Blues goalie Erica Fryer came out with 14 saves, but the Lakers held on to win the game.
“There was a lot of things that we did right and a lot of things that we’re going to take from this game, learn from, and move forward,” Blues forward Natasha Athanasakos said in a post-game interview with The Varsity. “Everything’s a learning opportunity.”
The Blues had a tight turnaround with a game on October 14 against the Western Mustangs and bounced back with a dominant win. Goals from Blues defender Olivia Hilton, forward Taylor Trussler, and Athanasakos helped secure a 3–1 win — their first of the season.