By Mikayla Guarasci
It was a rare 11:00 a.m. start on Friday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) for the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s hockey team. The Bold fell 4-2 to the Brock University Badgers in front of a packed crowd of local elementary school students.
The school-day game is an annual event for TMU and something the program enjoys hosting, including Bold veteran, Erika Crouse.
“We love having the kids here. We do it once a year and every year is great,” said Crouse. “Thankfully, this year we weren’t playing U of T [University of Toronto] so they were cheering for us.”
Both teams entered Friday’s matchup in fifth place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West and East Divisions respectively. TMU was coming off a 3-2 win against Windsor, while Brock was looking to get back into the win column after a 2-0 loss to the University of Toronto.
The Badgers got on the board first, scoring nine seconds into the first period. Just over halfway through the frame, Bold forward Brooke Michaud locked things up at one goal apiece, and the teams went into the first intermission tied.
TMU got into some penalty trouble in the second period, being called for three minor penalties in just over three minutes. Although they were able to kill off the ensuing five-on-three, Brock capitalized on the third opportunity, scoring to take the lead.
“When every game is a one goal game, things like [three consecutive penalties] add up and contribute to the end result,” said Bold head coach Lisa Haley. “Three in a row was really tough, especially to go down three-on-five. Those situations do break our rhythm.”
With under five minutes to go in the second period, the Bold went to work on the power play in search of the equalizer. Crouse found the back of the net just twelve seconds into the man advantage, bringing the score to 2-2. Haley called Crouse a “natural goal scorer,” and reiterated her importance on their power play unit.
The Badgers answered the Bold’s tying goal quickly, regaining the lead off a Mishayla Christensen goal with 1:45 to go in the middle frame. The game would head into the third period with the Badgers ahead 3-2.
Despite chances from both sides, neither team could score in the period until TMU pulled goalie Alexia Stratos for the extra attacker. Brock was able to find the empty net and went home with the 4-2 win.
Stratos made 23 saves in the loss while on the other side, Brock’s Kenzie Harmison made 27 saves for the Badgers.
“I think [the pace] was hit and miss,” said Crouse. “I think we can be way more consistent than we were tonight. Not a bad game, just they came out on top.”
UP NEXT: TMU heads to London to play the Western Mustangs on Jan. 28. Puck-drop is set for 4 p.m.