Photo Credit: Alessia Baptista, Editor-in-Chief
First seed Blues on track to win it all in McCaw Cup Playoffs
Alessia Baptista, Editor-in-Chief
On March 1st, the Toronto Varsity Blues women’s hockey team took on the Guelph Gryphons in the first game of the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) McCaw Cup Semi-Finals. After sweeping the TMU Bold in round 1, the Blues are on their way to victory in the battle for the Cup.
The Blues finished first in the west with Guelph following just short as the second seed in the regular season. In their 2022-23 history against the Gryphons, the Blues lost their first game at home in early November, and took home an overtime win at Guelph in February. An excellent performance by the Blues on Wednesday led them to a 4-1 win on home ice.
The arena was packed with Blues and Gryphons fans in anticipation of the first semifinal game. The Varsity Blues men’s football team dominated the arena, with a few players arriving shirtless and covered in blue paint, proving that we all truly #BLEEDBLUE. The roaring fans filled the stands and set the scene for an excellent matchup.
The first period was a beauty to witness; Blues rookie Isabello Greco was quick to put up a goal at 2:13, giving the team the momentum needed to dominate the scoreboard. After a few missed shots from Guelph and some good looks for the Blues, forward Céline Frappier scored the second goal, assisted by McKnight and McDonald. A powerplay goal assisted by Emma Potter set up Blues centre, Natasha Athanasakos, to lead the team 3-0 at the end of the period.
The girls came out of the locker room on a high at the start of the second. Halfway through the period, Blues forward Aili McKeown extended the lead to four for Toronto.
Hungry for the puck, Gryphons forward Abby Davies managed to sneak a goal past Fryer, putting a point up on the board with a power play advantage. Guelph tightened up their defence late in the third period and the Blues kept their 3 point lead, ending the game with a 4-1 win for Toronto.
The Blues will head to Guelph for game 2, and are confident they’ll come home with a win. “We emphasize Blues hockey which is relentless work ethic, supporting each other, and sticking to the game plan,” says Athanasakos.
The Blues play in Guelph on March 4th at 2:30pm for game 2. If needed, the Blues will return to Varsity Arena for game 3 on March 5th at 4pm. The winner of this round will move on to face the winner of Waterloo vs. Nippissing.