Toronto, ON- It was a busy couple of days for the nationally ranked U Sports women’s hockey schools in Toronto, as both the York Lions and Toronto Varsity Blues hosted important games, each with playoff implications.
Toronto Varsity Blues
The Varsity Blues, clinched the OUA top seed with a pair of wins this past weekend, both by a sizeable margin. They hosted the Nippsing Lakers, who were looking to take another stride towards securing a home advantage playoff seed.
In the Friday night battle of nationally-ranked teams, the Varsity Blues defeated the Lakers 4-1, showing why they are deserving of the countries 3rd seed. As it was the first game of the back to back, the Varsity Blues chose to start second-year netminder Erica Fryer, who made 17 stops en route to their victory.
A key to the win was the quick start. In the first frame, the Torontonians fired 20 shots on net, with one of them finding twine. The goal, which sent them into the break with the lead was a memorable one, as it was the first which Loui Bieman has scored in the OUA.
Bieman has only featured in a pair of games for Toronto, but with her goal and assists on Friday night, she averages a point a game.
Saturday saw the Varsity Blues host a matinee affair against the Laurentian Voyageurs, who defeated Ryerson’s Rams on Friday night. The Voyageurs, who won but did not get the three points needed came into the game with hopes of getting themselves above the playoff bar. However, that’s no easy task against one of Canada’s best teams on the back end of a back to back.’
The three points did the Voyageurs not get, as they fell to Toronto, allowing the Varsity Blues to clinch the top spot in the division, setting up a possible battle with their downtown rivals, the Ryerson Rams in the first round of the playoffs.
It was two-second period goals which gave the Blues the win, including a sisterly connection from the De Serres sisters. The two connected on the first goal, which proved to be the winner as the Torontontonians got elite goaltending from the third-year keeper, Madeline Albert, who made 22 saves and collected her fifth shutout of the season.
It was a quieter week for the York Lions, who find themselves sitting pretty in a playoff spot with a game to go in the season. The suburbian Toronto school defeated the Guelph Gryphons 5-2, finding victory for the first time on their last nine matchups.
It was a very fast start for the Lions, who scored four goals before the midway point of the second period. While they only scored a single one in the first, the nine minutes to start the second saw a tumultuous trio of pucks find twine. By the time the Gryphons got on the board, all was fairly settled.
York’s powerplay scored two goals on three attempts, pushing their season percentage up to 13.4%, good for the leagues sixth-best. The Lions had only a single game this weekend and took the rest of the rest days off for the rest of the conference to catch up to them in games played. Sitting in second, the Lions will visit the Laurier Golden Hawks next week as they look to finish the season on a high note before playoff begins on February 19th.’
Cover Photo: Varsity Blues Athletics