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TMU men's ice hockey player Connor Bowie celebrates a goal in front of four Golden Hawks players
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Bold down Golden Hawks in opening game of playoff series

By Daniel Carrero

The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s hockey team won 4-1 in their first game of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoff series against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks on Wednesday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). 

In the previous round, Laurier swept the University of Toronto (U of T) Varsity Blues to match up against the Bold in the OUA West semifinal.

“They scored a bunch of goals in the U of T series off of face-offs, so we wanted to be really sharp execution-wise in the face-off circle,” said Bold head coach Johnny Duco. “They are a tremendous team off the rush, so we wanted to focus on that.”

First-year Golden Hawks defender Bryce Kilbourne opened the scoring with a soft wrist shot that squeaked past TMU second-year goaltender Kai Edmonds to make it 1-0 for the visitors. 

  • TMU men's hockey netminder Kai Edmonds walks into the with a spotlight on him
  • TMU men's hockey player Chris Playfair fist bumps his teammates on the bench after a goal
  • TMU men's hockey players Kyle Bollers, Artem Duda and Chris Playfair hug after a goal
  • TMU men's ice hockey player Daniil Grigorev's face gets shoved into the boards by a Golden Hawks player
  • TMU men's ice hockey player Joe Rupoli stares onto the ice
  • TMU men's ice hockey player Kyle Bollers skates behind the net with his stick in the air
  • TMU men's ice hockey player Aaron Hyman pushes a Golden Hawks player on the ice
  • TMU men's ice hockey player Kyle Bollers shoots the puck into the empty net
  • TMU men's ice hockey player Cole Cameron smiles after fist bumping his teammates after a goal

“We know what they are going to do, they are going to come out and hit us and forecheck hard,” said third-year Bold defenceman Ryan Wells. “But we stuck to our system and our game and we know we can break them down in their zone.”

Close to the end of the period, fourth-year TMU forward Zach Roberts threw a pass toward Wells in front of the goal. The Mississauga, Ont. product then put it past third-year Golden Hawks netminder Christian Propp to even up the game at one. 

“They came out and played a really good start to the game on the road, but we kinda weathered the storm down,” said Duco. “We shook off the rust from not playing in a couple of weeks and got back to playing our game.”

TMU controlled the pace of play throughout the second period with possession but couldn’t put anything past Propp as the score remained tied.

TMU entered the third period on a powerplay after a holding penalty from third-year Golden Hawks forward Sam Rhodes. On the man advantage, first-year defenceman Artem Duda sniped it past Propp to give TMU their first lead of the night. 

It looked like Laurier found the equalizer when second-year forward Tyler Davis batted the puck over Edmonds and into the net. However, after review, the goal was disallowed due to Davis’ stick being above his shoulders.

Despite Laurier’s attempt to regain control of the game through their physicality following the overturned goal, the momentum stayed in TMU’s favour.

“They certainly came out finishing checks, throwing the body around,” said Duco. “But, we got a big strong team…so I don’t think it fazed us in any way. In fact, it gets some guys fired up and wanting to give it back.”

“We must win no matter what”

Bollers added the insurance marker for the Bold with less than five minutes to go in regulation. The Bold’s regular season scoring leader found himself in front of the goal and buried the puck to double the home side’s lead. 

With 10 seconds left, Bollers added another with an empty-net goal to secure game one of the series for the Bold.

TMU look to continue their performance when they travel to Waterloo, Ont. for game two against the Golden Hawks. If the Golden Hawks tie the series with a win, a deciding game three will be played at the MAC on Sunday. 

“We must win no matter what,” said Bollers. “We don’t want to come back here on Sunday and play them again. I think we should end it there.”

UP NEXT: Puck drop for game two is set for 7:00 p.m. on Friday at the RIM Park.

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