TMU special teams falter, Varsity Blues take win

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By Sam Fleming

The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s hockey team fell to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 3-2 in their final home game of the regular season on Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). 

The Bold outshot their opponents 38-28 but were unable to overcome a strong goaltending performance from Varsity Blues goaltender Jett Alexander. 

Bold head coach Johnny Duco pointed to his own team’s special teams as the difference maker in this game. 

“We just didn’t have enough guys going, we were flat,” said Duco. “Our first power play in particular wasn’t sharp and that turns out to be the difference.”

The Bold were sent to the power play just over a minute into the game after Varsity Blues forward Zack Smith was assessed a double minor for kneeing. TMU was unable to convert and surrendered a shorthanded goal after Varsity Blues forward Billy Moskal jumped on a turnover at the point and scored on a breakaway. 

“Power play, [penalty kill] that’s where they got us and that’s just a lack of urgency on our side,” said Bold captain Jesse Barwell. 

Jacob Kamps tied the game for the Bold with a strong individual effort before the Varsity Blues scored a power play goal to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. 

Toronto came out strong in the second period and extended their lead to 3-1. 

“We were on our heels and we weren’t sharp,” said Duco. “They’re a desperate team fighting for their season and you saw that in their play. They were scrappy, they were gritty, they were winning races.” 

The Bold came within one with a goal from Connor Bowie in the third period and generated several opportunities with the extra attacker, but were unable to solve Alexander for a third time. 

“I think we’re just gripping it tight right now,” Barwell said. “We’re just not getting our bounces, guys are snakebit and having trouble scoring.”

Barwell, along with Kamps, Aaron Hyman, Patrick Fellows, Zach Shankar, Jesse Barwell and Garrett Forrest were honoured by the Bold in a pre-game ceremony for senior night. 

“Those guys have been huge parts of our program,” said Duco. “They’ve had a lot of success and they certainly left the program in a better place then they found it.”

Saturday also marked goaltender Kai Edmonds’ return to the MAC. Edmonds and forward Kyle Bollers missed four games while representing Canada at the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) World University Winter Games. Bollers did not play Saturday due to an undisclosed injury. 

 “We left [Edmonds] out to dry tonight. We weren’t sharp enough in front of him and, you know, definitely feel for him,” said Duco. “You know, he gives us a chance to win night in and night out.”

UP NEXT: The Bold travel to the Gryphon Centre to take on Guelph on Feb. 3. Puck-drop is set for 7:30 p.m.

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