TORONTO, ONT – New era. New school name. New team name. The Ryerson Rams are no more as the team announced a renaming to the TMU Bold 2022-23 and beyond.
The newly named Bold took on their first two preseason games this past weekend at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The first was against the Queen’s Gaels before welcoming the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.
Last season, 2021-22, was spectacular for the Bold men’s hockey program as it was their best finish in program history, winning the OUA bronze medal and earning a berth at the U CUP, where they took down the heavily favoured UNB Reds in the quarterfinal, before finishing fourth with losses to UQTR and StFX.
The team wanted to make a strong statement out of the gates, which they did by going up 2-0 against Queen’s, who finished first in the OUA East last season with a record of 17-1-1. However, with some lapses in the defensive zone, Queen’s clawed their way back into the game, scoring four unanswered goals to win 4-2.
TMU BOLD RESULTS:
- TMU Bold 2-4 Queen’s Gaels
- TMU Bold 3-1 Ontario Tech Ridgebacks
The weekend’s second game was a different story for TMU, as the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks came to town, and the Bold jumped out to a 2-0 lead just as they had against the Gaels. Although the Ridgebacks cut that lead in half, rookie goaltender and former Kingston Frontenac Ryan Dugas shut the door as the Bold secured their first preseason win.
Through two games, a few things stood out for the Bold as they move on in the preseason.
Top line is still clicking in Year 2
Against Queen’s, the sophomore line of Kyle Bollers-Chris Playfair-Kevin Gursoy played very well. There was evident chemistry between the trio, boiling over from last season when they were one of the OUA’s top scoring lines. The passing was on point, and they were in the right spot for each other.
This was evident during the game against the Ridgebacks. In an attempt to get other players going, head coach, Johnny Duco split up the trio for a few periods but eventually put them back together.
The rookie goaltending question looms
The goaltending department seems wide open for who will win the starting job. The two goalies for the Bold, Ryan Dugas and Kai Edmonds, are in their first years with the program, making these preseason games matter a lot.
Although Kai Edmonds got credited with the loss against Queen’s, he made sure the game didn’t get out of hand, and most of the goals were due to poor defensive coverages rather than goaltending errors. As for Ryan Dugas, who got credit for the win against the Ridgebacks, he played equally as well. As of right now, it’s a toss-up for who will be the starter come the first game of the season.
Portkalis on fire to start
William Portokalis is going to be a name to remember for fans. He has been flying out of the gates, with a goal and an assist, including a wicked shot against the Gaels.
In the game against the Ridgebacks, he played on the second line and seemed super comfortable in his first year with the program. Coming off a 15-goal season in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack, fans should expect him to be in the goal-scoring department a lot this season.
Breakout quickly improving
In the first game against Queen’s, it was expected that more mistakes would be made, with many players not playing competitive games since spring. However, in the Ridgebacks game, the significant improvement was on the breakout. It was a bit loose in the Queen’s game, with wingers out of position and defencemen rushing to move the puck. Still, during the game against the Ridgebacks, the breakout was much more settled down with wingers in proper position, allowing the defencemen more time to set it up and settle down the play.
The four centers had a strong showing in the faceoff dot winning the majority of their draws, and you can assume they’ll become stronger as the season comes around.
With a formidable core from last season’s successes and an exciting, albeit large recruiting class, it may take a while for the Bold to get going, but if the first two preseason games are anything to show for it, there is certain promise in Duco’s group for 2022-23.
The next preseason game for the Bold is on September 22nd against the Varsity Blues at Varsity Arena.
Cover Photo: TMU Bold Athletics