By Sam Beaudoin
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s hockey team found its way back into the win column Thursday night, defeating the Brock Badgers 6-2 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
The victory snapped the team’s three-game losing streak.
“This was definitely a big game, going up against an opponent we’re gonna see a couple more times,” said TMU forward Connor Bowie. “We knew it was gonna be a tough test, we just wanted to make a statement.”
It was a highly anticipated matchup as both teams sat in the top three in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Western Conference standings, with both squads having won eight games to kick off the season.
The start of the first period very much resembled a contest between two of the OUA’s best as both teams got off to a flying start, speeding up and down the ice exchanging high-quality scoring chances.
The momentum quickly swung in Brock’s favour as a boarding penalty to TMU’s Jacob Kamps just over three minutes into the period sent the Badgers to the man advantage.
With 15 seconds left on the powerplay, Brock forward Cole Tymkin deflected a point shot that found its way into the back net, sending the Badgers out to an early 1-0 lead.
Despite Brock’s early dominance, the Bold quickly struck back. At the 7:21 mark of the period, Bowie evened the score with a slow bouncing shot that found its way past Badgers goaltender Andy MacLean.
“You win in this league by playing hard, fast and sacrificing,” said Bold head coach Johnny Duco. “I thought we did that today and we were rewarded for it.”
The goal resulted in the home faithful having more to celebrate, as it resulted in teddy bears flying onto the ice on Teddy Bear Toss night at the MAC.
The Badgers continued to dominate in the back half of the period, just over 13 minutes into the frame Tymkin knocked a pass down in the crease and tapped it into the back of the net, putting Brock up 2-1.
The goal was initially waved off by the referees due to a hand goal, however after a brief conversation the referees reversed the call, much to the displeasure of the spectators at the MAC.
“It’s frustrating when the ref calls it emphatically no-goal, then comes to me and says ‘actually it should be a goal because I saw him get his stick on it,’” said Duco. “Very confused, never seen anything like it in my life.”
The Bold recaptured the momentum early in the second period. On a two-on-one transition rush, Bold forward Jackson Doherty ripped one five-hole beating MacLean and evening up the game at two.
Just under two minutes later, TMU found the back net once more. On the power play, forward William Portokalis tipped a blast from Elijah Roberts to give the Bold their first lead of the game, 3-2.
TMU wasn’t satisfied with just a one-goal lead as they continued to dictate the pace of play into the back half of the second.
“I just thought we played with a lot of jam,” said Duco. “We were winning our battles, winning our races, blocking shots…that’s winning hockey.”
At the 9:48 mark, the Bold doubled their lead on yet another man advantage. In front of the net, Jesse Barwell fired one home off a beautiful pass in the corner from Zachary Shankar to make it 4-2 TMU heading into the final frame.
The pace of play slowed in the third period with the Bold playing much more conservatively, not generating much offense and rather dumping pucks into the offensive zone in an attempt to maintain a two-goal lead.
Despite a more passive approach from TMU, they managed to increase their lead.
At the 6:02 mark in the period, a nifty pass from Barwell sent OUA scoring leader Kyle Bollers on a breakaway. The second-year forward roofed it top shelf past MacLean, his 11th goal of the season, extending the Bold lead to three.
“I think my teammates give me all the confidence I need,” said Bollers on his early season play. “The biggest thing is to keep working hard.”
The Bold wasn’t finished yet. With less than two minutes left, Roberts broke free and found the back of the net on a five-hole finish to bring the score to 6-2 Bold.
The Bold will look to build on the momentum and continue to climb the OUA standings when they host the York University Lions Saturday at 1:15 p.m.
“For us it’s just urgency, no matter who our opponent is,” said Duco. “York is gonna come in here Saturday and be hungry.”
UP NEXT: TMU plays its last home game of the semester on Saturday at the MAC. Puck-drop is set for 1:15 p.m.