Riding a three-game win streak, the Varsity Blues men’s ice hockey team fell 4–3 in a tightly contested battle against the undefeated Concordia Stingers at Varsity Arena. Playing on the tail end of back-to-back fixtures, the Blues showed no fatigue from their Thursday night 7–3 victory against the Western University Mustangs in London. They took the game to the last minute in a thrilling battle that saw 36 penalty minutes given out by the officials.

What happened?

The Blues had a shaky start to the game, allowing Stingers forward Charles-Antoine Paiement to score two successive goals as the Blues struggled to establish offensive zone time. Blues captain Cole Purboo led the line with exerted pressure, creating pressure through relentless forechecking, brave blocks, and big hits. The game’s physicality reached a boiling point near the end of the first period, with punches and cross-checks being thrown by both teams after a net-front crash in the Stingers crease. Three minor penalties were given to each team on this play. 

Going into the period’s final minute, the Stingers scored a short-handed goal on a Blues powerplay to take their lead to three. Yet, just 14 seconds later, forward Nicholas Wong responded with a power-play marker off of a perfect feed from defenseman Owen Luik to take the score to 3–1.

The second period saw end-to-end hockey with frequent breakaways and turnovers. Blues goaltender Jett Alexander made several key saves to keep his team in the game. Mid-way through the period, Purboo would be rewarded for his tenacity when he capitalized off of a rebound in a net-front scramble, scoring the Blues’ second goal of the game. 

The Stingers scored early into the third period, and the rest of the game was all Blues offense as the team looked to close the gap, trailing 4–2. Forward Billy Moslak scored on the power-play midway into the period, but ultimately, it was not enough to overcome their initial three-goal deficit. 

Blues forward Owen Robinson’s two assists on the night saw him rise to third in points, 11 in total, in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA), while Wong sits just behind at fourth with 10. Alexander also continued to be a steady presence at the goalpost as he made 28 saves on the night, adding to his league-leading 191 saves for the season — 21 saves more than second place.

What’s next?

The Blues now have a 4–2 record in the regular season and sit fourth in the OUA West standings. In a post-match interview with The Varsity, Wong spoke positively about the team’s record so far: “I think that’s a good start. I mean, [we’re] getting off on the right foot here… [but] we got to keep on going, keep on getting better every day.” 

The Blues have a week’s rest before a back-to-back fixture against Lakehead University at the Varsity Arena on October 27 and 28. With 22 games remaining in the OUA regular season, the Blues look to maintain their strong record as they set their sights on the playoffs in February.