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Bittersweet final regular season home game for Blues women

Blues women’s hockey team falls to Gaels 3–1

Bittersweet final regular season home game for Blues women

The Toronto Varsity Blues women’s hockey team surrendered a close 3–1 match against the Queen’s Gaels on Friday night.

The last home game of the regular season marked grad night, a special occasion for graduating players Rebecca Bourgeois and Katey Teekasingh. Both players were honoured in a pre-game ceremony.

The Blues drew first blood as Breanna Berndsen found an open space in the slot and capitalized, scoring in the first period and giving Toronto a 1–0 lead. The Gaels still managed to create more opportunities on offense, leading 10–7 shots on goal after the first period. Blues goalie Madeline Albert finished the night with a save percentage of 0.905, stopping 19 of 21 shots.

Despite scoring on Gaels goalie Stephanie Pascal in the first period, the Blues failed to get the puck past her for the rest of the game. Pascal was sensational, saving an impressive 22 of 23 shots.

The second period turned sloppy for the Blues as they committed unfortunate penalties, providing the Gaels with the chance to take the lead. Blues player Stephanie Ayres was called for holding, which Queen’s capitalized on. The Gaels’ Katrina Manoukarakis, who is the Ontario University Athletics’ second leading scorer, immediately scored just six seconds into the power play, tying the game. Late in the second period, Manoukarakis found the back of the net again to give the Gaels their first lead.

Toronto failed to score in the final period despite having five more shots. Queen’s forward Jessica Wakefield scored an empty netter that went off of Blues defender Julia Szulewska, extending the lead to 3–1 and ending any hopes of a comeback.

“I loved every minute of it,” said Blues captain Rebecca Bourgeois when asked of her time as a Varsity Blue. “I’ve sat through a lot of these grad ceremonies and I’m so thankful that I had all my friends here for this one. I really enjoyed my five years here and everyone who has come through during that time.”

“We’re really just focusing on playing the full 60 minutes. Queen’s is a good team and I think we‘ve had a good run, but… we just need to focus on the little things and I think we’re well set-up for the future,” said Bourgeois.

With the loss, the Blues drop to a 13-8-2 record and fall to the fifth seed in a tight playoff race.

“I think definitely we want to make a run at it as far as we can. We’re aiming for that OUA banner… We’re going to go into it with pride and hopefully we’re going to play that way and come out successful,” said Bourgeois.

Toronto will finish their regular season on the road against the York Lions on February 16.

Women’s basketball come up short to Queen’s

Blues lose third game in a row

Women’s basketball come up short to Queen’s

The Varsity Blues women’s basketball team have now lost three games in a row following their 74–66 loss to the Queen’s Gaels on Saturday night.

The Gaels’ offense jumped out to a 19–9 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Toronto gained momentum and managed to outscore Queen’s 25–24, slowly cutting the deficit to a 43–34 lead at halftime.

The Blues improved in the second half, outscoring the Gaels 32–31. Unfortunately the first quarter deficit proved to be costly, as Toronto could not catch up to the Gaels despite outscoring them 57–55 after the first quarter.

“Offensively we really picked it up in the second half with sharing the ball. We got a lot of good looks, but the problem I think with that is it happens too late in the game,” said Blues guard Keyira Parkes. “Defensively we have to be in transition and just really bear down and focus from the jump. We can’t let them get a run on us.”

Parkes led the Blues with 19 points on an efficient 8-14 shooting, along with five rebounds and two assists. The next highest Blues scorer was Diedre Edwards with 12 points.

Gael Marianne Alarie ended the night with a game high of 20 points scored, leading the way for Queen’s. Her eight points in the first quarter helped the Gaels jump to the commanding lead that would later be too much for the Blues to come back from. Sophie de Goede contributed with 15 points off the bench, including nine free throws.

The Blues are now 5-11 on the season, while the Gaels improve to an impressive 13-3 record.

When asked about the next game, Parkes said, “We have to come in the game focused… [and] executing game plans, because that’s been a challenge for us. We tend to forget in the first two minutes of the game what the game plan is and what we’re supposed to be doing.”

“We can’t lose any more games. We really have to play together and find that defensive [relentlessness],” she continued.

U of T’s next game is against the undefeated Carleton Ravens at Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport on Friday, January 26.

Queen’s Gaels earn commanding win over Varsity Blues

Toronto’s sixth straight loss marks disappointing end to men’s football season

Queen’s Gaels earn commanding win over Varsity Blues

The Varsity Blues football season came to an end on Saturday afternoon with defeat in their final home game to the Queen’s Gaels.

The Blues’ offense started off hot as Blues quarterback Clay Sequeira ran for a 30-yard touchdown and later threw a 22-yard-touchdown to Nick Stadnyk to take a 14–0 lead. The Gaels offense quickly put up points in the first quarter however, with Gaels quarterback Nate Hobbs throwing a 73-yard pass to a wide open Chris Osei-Kusi that resulted in a touchdown.

Hobbs later completed four straight passes for 31 yards before capping it off with a 21-yard touchdown to Connor Weir to level the game 14–14.

The Blues managed to score only one touchdown in the second quarter. Hobbs was hit by Blues defender Corey Williams, fumbling the ball — a rare mistake from the Gaels’ offense. Brittley Mokube recovered the football for Toronto, running it back for a 30 yards for a touchdown. The Gaels took over in the second quarter with three straight touchdowns along with a field goal to take a commanding 38–14 lead. Hobbs threw for a pair of touchdowns, while Blues quarterback Christian Krcilek threw a pass that was intercepted by Gaels linebacker Nelkas Kwemo and returned it 61 yards for a pick six.

The Blues’ defense was no match for the Gaels’ high-powered offense as Hobbs had a near-perfect day completing 32 for 40 passes for 436 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Jake Puskas led all players with 22 carries for 118 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Osei-Kusi led the Gaels with 12 receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Sequeira finished the game going 14 for 26 for 282 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing with 73 yards. Blues receiver Stadnyk finished with four receptions for 75 yards, along with two touchdowns.

A silver lining in the game was Blues fifth-year punter TJ Morton, who ended 2017 with 3,921 yards, breaking the OUA record for punting yardage in a single season held by Guelph Gryphons punter Norman Nasser in 2000 with 3,621 yards.

After a long and hard-fought season, the Blues finish their season with a disappointing 1-7 record, missing the playoffs. With the help of a Guelph win over Carleton, the Gaels secured the final playoff spot, finishing with a 4-4 record.