By Mikayla Guarasci
Friday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) went as planned for the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s hockey team, taming the York University Lions 4-2.
TMU snapped a four-game losing streak for the squad and marked the return of veteran forward Olivia Giardetti, who suffered an injury against the Western Mustangs on Nov 5.
“We really missed her the games that she’s been out,” said TMU head coach Lisa Haley. “You can see it on the ice, she’s just somebody that can carry a line, drive a play, she’s just such an intense player out there.”
The first period had a focus on special teams for the Bold and Lions. The game got off to a quick start, with York taking their first penalty of the game less than four minutes into the period.
York took another penalty in the period, sending Taylor Coward to the box for kneeing. The Bold were able to capitalize on the man advantage, with Dani Fox scoring a powerplay marker with 10:50 remaining in the period. York’s Jillian Milligan went off for cross checking less than 20 seconds after the goal, but the Lions were able to kill off the two minute penalty.
The penalties didn’t stop after the first period. The Lions went to the box for too many players just five minutes into the second frame and twenty eight seconds into the penalty, York’s Julia McLennan went to the box for holding, giving the Bold a five-on-three advantage.
TMU had some dangerous scoring opportunities, but were unable to find their way past Lions goalie Juliana Thomson before taking a penalty of their own.
“We had a lot of opportunities on the powerplay, it’s good practice,” said Giardetti. “We definitely would like to get the puck in the net more often. Both groups did a good job moving the puck, we just need to find a way to capitalize on the chances.”
The Bold killed off Madison Lalonde’s head contact penalty and it appeared the teams would get some time at even strength. But just as Lalonde got back into the play, she was taken down by Milligan, who went to the box for hooking.
With 8:07 to go in the period, Mia Morano made a pass to Alexia Ursua, who took the puck to the net to score her first Ontario University Athletics (OUA) goal, giving the TMU a 2-0 lead.
“I’ve always just wanted to get the monkey off my back, it feels so nice, all this weight has just been lifted off of me,” said Ursua. “I feel like my confidence has grown.”
But York put the pressure on and Sydney Paulson managed to get one past Bold goaltender Jayden Lawson, cutting TMU’s lead in half, sending the teams into the third period with a 2-1 score.
TMU started the third period on the powerplay, but didn’t score while up a player. The Bold’s work later paid off and Erika Crouse scored a goal at 2:12 to give the Bold some insurance. Brooke Michaud added another marker for the Bold, extending their lead to 4-1.
The Bold have struggled with scoring recently, so putting up four goals was encouraging for the team.
“I would say it’s a relief more than anything, I still think there’s another level for us to get to and finishing off the plays we create, but happy to take the four we got tonight,” said Haley.
The Bold held on for a 4-2 victory over the Lions and Lawson made 19 of 21 stops in the win. The line of Morano, Ursua and Brooke Michaud combined for close to 10 points, driving the offence for the Bold.
“I was really happy with that line in general,” said Haley. “They had a lot of big points for us tonight and [when] you get an effort like that from that group and they’re putting pucks in the back of the net, it’s easy to feed off that energy.”
UP NEXT: The Bold will be back at it Saturday night on home ice against the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks. Puck-drop is set for 6:15 p.m.