By Harsh Kumar
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s hockey team were handed their eighth loss in a row as they fell 4-1 to the University of Toronto (U of T) Varsity Blues on Thursday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
The Bold have struggled all season with one win in 11 games and are now riding an eight-game losing streak. They were looking to turn their luck around against an intercity rival at home during their annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
“We want to focus on being a little bit tighter defensively,” said Bold head coach Lisa Haley. “It’s tough to give up four every game and think you’re gonna be able to come out with a win.”
The Varsity Blues controlled play early in the first as the Bold struggled to get the puck out of their zone. The first goal for the Varsity Blues came just under six minutes into the opening period.
A pass towards the front of the net from third-year U of T defender Olivia Hilton was redirected into the slot by second-year Bold forward Gaby Gareau and on the stick of U of T forward Christina Alexiou. The first-year foward put it past second-year Bold netminder Lauren Griffin to give the visitors the early advantage.
The Bold responded 24 seconds later with a shorthanded goal on a partial breakaway from fourth-year forward Emily Baxter, her seventh of the season. The equalizer resulted in the teddy bears raining down onto the ice from the TMU fans in celebration of the goal.
“It was nice to get the goal for the toss today. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get more but at least we got the one,” said fourth-year defender Abby DeCorby.
Baxter potted her second shorthanded marker in as many games. Despite the losing streak, TMU’s shorthanded play has been a bright spot—killing penalties at an 87.5 per cent clip coming into Thursday.
“We definitely take pride in our special teams and [penalty kill] is definitely something that we can use for momentum,” said DeCorby.
The Varsity Blues controlled play for the rest of the period as they outshot TMU 19-4, but stellar goaltending by Griffin kept the game tied at one apiece.
While the Bold outshot U of T in the second period the Varsity Blues still created more high-danger chances.
“We adjusted our strategy a little bit and how we thought we could keep out of our own end,” said Haley.
Trailing by one, the Bold were looking to tie the game yet again in the third. TMU came out strong early in the final frame but they struggled to keep up with the Varsity Blues’ offensive cycle and could not stop the visitors in transition.
With the continued pressure, U of T doubled their lead with a wrist shot from fourth-year forward Juliette Blais Savoie. Less than two minutes later, Varsity Blues first-year forward Taylor Delahey put another past Griffin to extend their lead to three.
“We let off for about three or four minutes during the third and they capitalized,” said DeCorby.
With three minutes left in regulation, DeCorby was given a penalty for head contact—putting the Bold on the penalty kill for the fourth time of the night and the game to bed.
“Things are correctable here. The opportunities that they scored on were, again, just areas that we should be able to tidy up in our game” said Haley.
UP NEXT: The Bold are set to play the York Lions at Canlan Ice Sports on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7:15 p.m.