A week after their narrow loss to the Concordia Stingers, the Varsity Blues men’s ice hockey team were outmatched 6–2 in the first of a back-to-back fixture against the Lakehead Thunderwolves at the Varsity Arena.

The game on October 27 was the first meeting between the two teams since the 2022–2023 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Playoffs, in which the Thunderwolves eliminated the Blues in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, the Blues were unable to get revenge this time around.

What happened

For the second week in a row, the Blues allowed the opposition to take an early lead in the first period, conceding a goal just two minutes into the game. The Thunderwolves went on to double their score at the period’s halfway mark, as the Blues struggled to test Lakehead goaltender Christian Cicigoi.

On the other end of the ice, goaltender Jett Alexander continued to make big stops to keep his team in the game, including a highlight reel windmill save at about 10 minutes into the period. Two minutes later, defenseman Nick Grima scored a Crosby-esque backhander, rifling the puck into the top left-hand corner of the net and narrowing the gap to 2–1 heading into the second period.

The beginning of the second period saw a clutch glove save by Alexander on a cross-crease shot that seemed to be a sure goal. But the highlights for the Blues stopped there, as the Thunderwolves scored another two goals just 20 seconds apart in the sixth minute into the period. As the Blues fell further behind, Head Coach Ryan Medel looked for a shift in momentum and decided to pull Alexander after he conceded the Thunderwolves’ fourth goal of the night.

Incoming goaltender Rayce Ramsay made his season debut under undeniably difficult circumstances, but the change failed to light a spark as the Blues conceded a further two goals, closing off a tough period in which the Thunderwolves scored four unanswered goals.

With the Timberwolves holding a four-goal lead, the final period saw both teams focus their sights on the next day’s game. Grima’s second goal of the night on a five-on-three power-play proved to be the only goal of the uneventful period. As the game wound down, a wayward Thunderwolves shot broke the glass board behind Ramsay’s net, causing a 20-minute delay as the Varsity Facilities staff replaced the shattered panel.

Ramsay closed out the game with several good saves before the buzzer rang, ending a game that had been dominated by the Thunderwolves.

What’s next

The Blues have bounced back from this defeat in impressive fashion. The Blues got revenge on the Thunderwolves the next day, and won 3–2. On November 3, the Blues earned a 3–2 shootout win against the Laurier Golden Hawks on home ice, before traveling to Waterloo the next day to beat the Waterloo Warriors 5–4. Now riding a three-game win streak, the Blues sit second in the OUA standings with a record of 7–3.