By Todd Ash-Duah
There was a playoff-like atmosphere at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) as the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s hockey team played host to the Queen’s Gaels in a preseason bout Friday night.
The Gaels prevailed with a 4-2 victory over the Bold after a monster surge in the final period.
“It was exciting for sure,” said winger Kevin Gursoy, who scored the first goal of the pre-season for TMU. “Obviously it sucks that we didn’t get the win.”
There were no signs of brotherly love in this one, with physicality on display early on as both teams laid huge hits on one another. Immediately, the tone was set. TMU had an opportunity to strike first early, but centre Chris Playfair’s tip rang off the crossbar.
With 12 minutes left in the first period, the Bold got their first powerplay opportunity when an interference penalty was called on the Gaels. However, the powerplay was short-lived, as just two minutes later, a tripping penalty was called on the Bold winger Kevin Gursoy, wiping out the man advantage.
TMU goalie Kai Edmonds made a nifty save to keep the game scoreless as the first period drew to a close. Both the Bold and the Gaels had nine shots on goal after the first 20 minutes of play.
The second period started with a bang, as just 19 seconds into the action the Bold scored their first goal of the pre-season. Playfair set up Gursoy, who put the puck in the net with a slick wrist shot.
TMU’s penalty killing chops would be put to the test two minutes later when a cross checking penalty was called on the home team. The Bold passed that test with flying colours and stifled the Gaels to keep their 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for TMU to extend its lead, as new TMU forward William Portokalis stopped, controlled the puck and sniped it into the net to make it 2-0 in favour of the Bold with 9:01 left in the second period.
A little after the midway point of the second period, the Bold got another powerplay opportunity as Gaels defenceman Jacob Paquette was called for an interference penalty. TMU was in prime position to further extend their grip on the game.
However, the Gaels were unfazed as they stifled the Bold on the penalty kill once again. Shortly after, Paquette came out of the box and showed off his offensive prowess, scoring to cut TMU’s lead in half.
TMU outshot Queen’s 11-6 in the second period and entered the final frame with a 2-1 lead.
Queen’s went on the attack to start the third, and two shots from the Gaels hit the goalpost. That aggressiveness would set the tone for the rest of the frame.
Gaels forward Hayden Fowler tied up the game at two apiece just four minutes into the third. The next 11 minutes of play were filled with good defence and great saves by both goalies. It seemed like the first exhibition game of the season for the Bold was destined for extra time.
Then with 5:14 left on the clock, Gaels forward Ryan Cranford managed to put it past Bold goalie Kai Edmonds, giving Queen’s its first lead of the game.
The Gaels defence went into lockdown mode, putting the clamps on the TMU offence before forward Jonathan Yantsis buried in an empty netter, much to the dismay of the crowd at the MAC.
“I thought we played very well in the second period,” said TMU head coach Johnny Duco. “We just didn’t play for a full 60 minutes.”
UP NEXT: The TMU Bold men’s hockey team will welcome the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks to the MAC on Saturday, Sept. 17 for more pre-season action. Puck drop is set for 4:15 p.m.