Toronto, ON – They were coming in as the underdog. All the pressure’s was on Toronto.
That was the message to TMU Bold by coach Lisa Haley in advance of their Saturday night matchup against the Toronto Varsity Blues and for good reason. The number one ranked team in the country, the Toronto Varsity Blues were winners of 15 straight heading into Saturday and owned the best record in the OUA by a football field.
It was truly David versus Goliath but unfortunately for the TMU Bold and their claustrophobic place in between Queen’s and Ontario Tech in the OUA East standings, the Varsity Blues lived up to being the Goliath of the match shutting out the Bold, 3-0.
The pace to start the penultimate game of the 2022-23 Subway Series was incredible. With Chances at both ends the ringing of the post was like music to the goalie’s ears.
“I’m happy with how the matchup went five on five,” TMU coach Lisa Haley said. “We need to control our emotions and stay out of the box. If we can start like that and play consistently and stick to our game plan. I did like our first [period].”
Despite numerous chances by both teams and Varsity Blues and the Bold going on the power play, the first period ended at a 0-0 tie.
Discipline became the name of the game in the second period as the TMU Bold were penalized four times which meant much of the play was in the Bold end defending against the top ranked power play in the OUA.
The Varsity Blues would eventually burn the Bold as they converted twice on the power play in the second. First Caroline Eagles sent a seeing-eye shot through a sea of bodies to make it 1-0 about seven minutes in. Late in the period Kaitlyn McKnight pounced on the puck that was loose in the crease and buried it to give the Blues a 2-0 lead.
“We can’t be spending time in the box like that,” Haley said. “Tonight was a reminder of the style that we have to play. We can’t be using our sticks to do foolish things.”
The Bold had their opportunities to get on the board as they were given two power plays to start the third period but couldn’t beat Madeline Albert.
Lauren Omoto added the empty-net goal with under two minutes to play and the Bold had a 3-0 win.
Saturday marked a matchup that could serve as a preview of a potential first round series in the 2023 McCaw Cup
In five years at TMU, veteran forward Brooklyn Gemmil has seen a lot of the Toronto Varsity Blues and knows that if TMU wants to achieve the ultimate upset they’ll need to do better than they did on Saturday.
“Our team worked really hard against theirs. They haven’t lost many games so we tried taking a stab at them and now we know what it takes to play against a team like that.”