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‘We smell blood’: Bold pounce on Badgers to force series-deciding game

By Alex Wauthy

The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s hockey team live to see another day.

The Kyle Bollers show was in full effect on Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The star forward’s two highlight reel goals lifted the Bold over the Brock Badgers to extend the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West final to game three with a dominant 5-1 victory. 

“We just want it more,” said third-year Bollers. “Game one, we weren’t hitting, we weren’t hard on the forecheck, we weren’t blocking shots and they were. I think in game two, we had our backs against the wall and we just wanted it more.”

“Going into game three, we smell blood. We got a little taste of it. Now, we’re going into Brock and we got to do the same thing.” 

While the Bold smell blood, the rejuvenated squad understands the importance of staying on task while keeping their emotions in check. 

“Energy is high, vibes are high,” said fourth-year forward Carson Gallagher. “But we know we got to stay grounded because we got a huge series game tomorrow that will be the decider.” 

  • TMU Bold men's hockey player Kyle Bollers scores a goal to put TMU up 3-1
  • Members of the Bold men's hockey team celebrates
  • A hockey player bangs up against the glass
  • The Bold men's hockey team bench
  • A TMU Bold hockey player and Brock Badgers hockey player on the ice
  • TMU Bold hockey player Connor Bowie celebrates
  • TMU Bold men's hockey player Kyle Bollers fights for the puck
  • TMU Bold men's hockey player Artem Duda

The Bold opened with speed and energy, understanding the importance of starting the right way. However, after minimizing Brock’s entries in the opening minutes, a defensive blunder put them behind early. 

Third-year Bold defenceman Joe Rupoli’s failed clearing attempt fell on the stick of fifth-year forward Justin Brack. After weaving his way through defenders and sending a shot wide, Brack got another crack at the net. He sliced through the slot, picked up the puck and tucked it past the sprawling second-year TMU netminder Kai Edmonds to put his team up one just over three minutes into the contest. 

However, TMU didn’t let Brock’s marker stifle their momentum. 

After battling down low, third-year Bold forward Elijah Roberts fed the puck to Gallagher in front of Brock’s net. Gallagher batted a backhander that found its way through first-year goaltender Connor Ungar, knotting the game at one. 

“Our line’s been pretty good all season,” Gallagher said. “Great chemistry down low, and I think that’s where we excel. Below the goal line and getting offence and just getting to the net…I think that’s why we’ve been successful so far.” 

The Bold continued racking up offensive zone time and shots as they pushed the pace despite resistance from the resilient Badgers squad as the opening frame progressed.

“Going into game three, we smell blood”

A trio of penalties—two to TMU and one to Brock—rounded out the period, with neither getting the upper edge on their opponent. 

After killing off an early period to kick off the middle frame, a fluttering shot from Roberts put the Bold up one. The Brampton, Ont. product fended off third-year Brock forward Tyler Burnie, twisted around and flung a shot from the point toward the net. 

With the building still celebrating and Brock still reeling from Roberts’s goal,  Bollers quickly pounced on the Badgers once again. 

Bollers picked up the puck off the ensuing faceoff and skated into Brock’s end. In a one-on-one against second-year Badgers defenceman Bradon Caruso, Bollers toe-dragged around the defender—who went spinning on his knees into the left corner. 

His shot squeezed through Ungar’s arm and crossed the line. Bollers then hoisted his stick in the air and pumped his fist triumphantly in celebration of the goal.

“I was so jacked up, I kind of zoned in on myself,” Bollers said. “I just remember our assistant coach, Matt Mistele, coming behind me and giving me a pat saying, ‘Fucking great job buddy, way to go.’ But I was just looking straight, not even knowing what was going on. I was just so juiced and energized from it.” 

The Bold were buzzing as the frame trickled down. The Badgers received a too-many-men penalty with 25 seconds left, meaning the Bold had a man advantage to kick off the third as they looked to ice the game. 

The Badgers killed the bench minor, but the Bold continued to apply pressure despite owning a multi-goal lead. Their efforts came to fruition halfway through the period. 

Fourth-year Bold defenceman Cole Cameron sent an aerial pass from the neutral zone into Brock’s end. A streaking Bollers picked up the puck behind the Badgers defence, deked Ungar and roofed it as the Bold took a commanding 4-1 lead.

“He’s incredible, you can tell going into tonight he was highly motivated,” said Bold head coach Johnny Duco. “You know he’s capable of having the type of game he had, but even earlier on, he set the tone.” 

Aside from their torrid scoring, the Bold held Brock to just four shots through the first 15 minutes of the third. With four minutes remaining, they pulled Ungar in hopes of finding an offensive spark. 

Instead, third-year TMU defenceman Ryan Wells sunk an empty-netter from TMU’s end for his first of the post-season. Post-whistle festivities ensued seconds before the clock struck zero, but an offensive outburst elevated the Bold to a 5-1 victory as they forced game three Sunday at Brock. 

“I don’t like Brock at all,” Bollers said. “From our first year when we lost to them when we could have went to the Queen’s Cup…there’s a lot of bad blood there. That’s something [we] haven’t forgotten. It’s a bit in the back of my mind.” 

UP NEXT: TMU looks to punch their ticket to the Queen’s Cup final Sunday at Canada Games Park in St. Catharines, Ont., as the Badgers host the all-decisive final game of the OUA West final. 

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