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TMU men's hockey defenceman Joe Rupoli batltes for a loose puck along the boards against a Badgers player
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Badgers claw away victory over Bold in opening game of OUA West final

By Abigail Dove

The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s hockey team fell 3-1 to the Brock Badgers in the opening game of the OUA West final at Canada Games Park on Feb. 29.  

An early third-period marker from third-year Badgers forward Tyler Burnie proved to be the difference-maker in a heated battle. 

With the win, the Badgers put themselves one game away from securing a spot in the Queen’s Cup matchup. 

In the early moments of the game, the intensity was set when second-year TMU forward Will Portokalis rocketed into the Bold net, making it clear that this game would be heavily influenced by aggression between the two teams.

Shortly after, third-year Brock forward Christophe Cote potted the puck past second-year Bold netminder Kai Edmonds off a rebound to give the home side the early advantage—much to the excitement of the Brock faithful.

Following the opening goal, the physicality level amped up as both sides exchanged pushes and shoves in post-whistle scrums before heading into the first intermission. 

In the second, the game began to open up with minimal stoppages of play. As a result, each side had great scoring chances to add to the scoreboard, but couldn’t find the back of the net for the majority of the frame. 

Edmonds held down the fort as he stopped a barrage of 16 shots in the second frame—double the number of shots first-year Brock netminder Connor Ungar faced in the period. 

With under four minutes remaining in the middle period, the Bold found the equalizer.

First-year TMU forward Daniil Grigorev redirected a shot from first-year defenceman Artem Duda past Ungar to even the game at one before the final frame. 

TMU players Elijah Roberts and Artem Duda chase down a Badgers player on the ice

Yet, Burnie restored the Badgers’ lead 108 seconds into the third off an odd-man rush. 

The two sides traded penalties for the remainder of the period as the Bold pushed for the answer. However, neither could convert on their respective man-advantages. 

In the late stages of the third, the Bold pulled Edmonds in favour of an extra attacker to tie the game once again. But Ungar denied the late push and second-year Badgers forward Jordan Stock slotted the puck into the empty net to secure the game one victory. 

The Bold will have their backs against the wall in their quest to reach the Queen’s Cup when the two sides meet again on March 2 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

A loss on Saturday will end TMU’s Ontario University Athletics season, but they’re guaranteed a berth in the U Sports national tournament as the host.

UP NEXT: Puck drop on Saturday is set for 6:15 p.m.

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