On February 14, the Varsity Blues men’s hockey team was defeated 7–4 by the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks at the Varsity Arena in the first game of their three-game playoff series. In the regular season, the Varsity Blues dominated the Golden Hawks, earning three wins in their three games against the team this season. Yet, the Blues couldn’t repeat that success on Valentine’s Day. 

What happened 

The Golden Hawks opened the scoring in the first period with a goal by right winger Nick Giunta. The Hawks followed up this goal with two more in the first period, extending their lead by three going into the second period. 

In the second period, the Golden Hawks scored their fourth goal of the game. Due to the game’s poor start, the Blues replaced rookie goalie Jordan Fairlie with veteran Jett Alexander. Fairlie had previously been in the net against the Golden Hawks on September 22, 2023, and helped lead the Blues to a 4–2 win over the Hawks. However, he had not played against them since. 

Shortly after the goalie switch, third-year Blues forward Ben Woodhouse scored the team’s first goal of the game, with assists from third-year forward Billy Moskal and rookie defenseman Aiden Reeves. Soon after Woodhouse’s goal, Blues captain Cole Purboo buried a puck into the back of the net for their second goal of the night. After the Hawks were handed a cross-checking penalty, the Varsity Blues capitalized on their power-play as rookie forward Julian Recine scored their third goal, putting them within one goal of the Hawks. 

Late into the second period, fourth-year Blues defenseman Ryan Barbosa was handed a penalty, but the Blues were able to effectively kill the Hawks’ subsequant power-play. Specifically, sophomore defenseman Graham Dickerson showed off some incredible skills in the second period, making some impressive sprawling defensive plays, to help the Blues stay within one. 

Yet, Dickerson took a penalty for slashing early into the third period, and although the Blues skillfully killed the Hawks’ power-play, the Golden Hawks scored their fifth goal shortly after. Nevertheless, Recine scored his second goal of the night on a Blues power-play to put the Blues only one goal behind the Hawks again. 

In an attempt to tie the game, the Blues pulled Alexander from the net, which resulted in two extra, empty-net goals for the Golden Hawks, securing their victory in game one. 

What’s next

The Varsity Blues next headed to Waterloo, Ontario for a pressure-filled second game against the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday, February 17. The Blues lost 3–5, eliminating them from the Ontario University Athletics playoffs and ending their season.