By Dexter LeRuez
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) women’s hockey team fought valiantly on Thursday night, dropping a 2-1 contest to the York Lions at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
The Bold were shorthanded heading into Thursday’s match with many key players on the sideline due to other student responsibilities.
“We had a short lineup today, a lot of class conflicts,” said Bold head coach Lisa Haley. “So, we only had ten forwards dressed and I think they did a fantastic job managing energy and being able to play a whole three periods.”
York won the opening face-off and threatened TMU early in the first period, keeping the puck deep in the Bold’s zone for the first two minutes of the game.
Even when the Bold stabilised on defence, the offence struggled to convert opportunities into goals, with two breakaways being stifled by the Lions’ defence.
That all changed with 9:04 left in the first period when second-year defender Saije Catcheway put back a rebound in a cluster of players to put the Bold up one.
“I think a lot of that goal came down to a lot of second effort,” said Catcheway. “Coach Lisa always talks about us going into the corners hard, having second efforts.”
Despite the goal being in the pre-season, it was a big moment for Catcheway who walked on for the Bold last season and only played in five games for the team. “It was great, we knew that the game wasn’t going to be much glitz, glam and glitter but, I think we had a good effort.”
The Bold kept threatening after the goal. However, the Lions would continue to show off their bend-don’t-break attitude when they killed the first minute and a half of a powerplay to close out the frame.
The shots on goal told the story of the first period. Early on, the Lions led the way with five shots on goal to the Bold’s one. At the end of the period, the shots stood at 9-6 for the Bold.
As the second period began, the Lions would brush off the rest of their penalty kill with little worry.
Real worry would arrive moments after the penalty kill when Bold first-year Gaby Gareau tangled up with York’s goalie and just missed on a scoring opportunity that was halted when the two sent the net off its pegs.
A few minutes later, the Bold would mishandle the puck creating a York two-on-one that was capped off with York’s Natalie Mamone sending the puck into the back of the net to put the Lions back on even footing.
Poor touches burdened the Bold throughout the game. Breakaways caused by wayward passes would fail to make their way into the net, thanks in part to TMU’s first-year goalie Alexia Stratos.
The second period concluded with no more goals. Instead, the second was scrappy, with both teams trading power-plays before Gareau went to the box for four minutes due to head contact following a chaotic few seconds.
Despite the chaos, TMU held strong through the end of the period and the first three minutes of the third to bring the game back to full strength.
Just like the second period, the third would have special teams at the top of mind, as the Bold gave their penalty kill and powerplay units lots of practice after a cross-checking call against York’s Ava Ricker-Singh and a roughing call against TMU’s Jess Pollard.
However, when the game was back to full strength the score finally changed when York defender Rebecca Lopes sent a long-ranged shot past Stratos to give York a 2-1 lead.
The score was set in stone from then on, with the Bold dropping down to 1-2 in the pre-season following the loss.
“It’s definitely water off the duck’s back, it’s a learning lesson we are grateful for every game we play,” said Catcheway. “We are gonna get right into practice, and learn from our mistakes.”
UP NEXT: The Bold will get their chance to learn from their mistakes on Saturday when they take on another cross-town rival: the University of Toronto. The game will start at 4:15 at the MAC.