Friday night was a big night for the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team. Beating the York Lions 6-2, the Blues captured second place and home-ice advantage to the OUA semifinal playoff round. The night was also highlighted by a celebration that congratulated all veteran players on making it through their university athletic career and playing in their last regular season game on home ice.
The Blues move past the Western Mustangs and Nipissing Lakers to take second place with a 12-4-4-3 record, with only one regular season game remaining. The Varsity Arena crowd was in full effect; family members came to support their daughters and students came to support their friends and watch a crosstown rivalry.
Halfway through the first period, veteran forward Jacqueline Scheffel put the Blues on the board first with her 22nd goal in her five-year career. Scheffel broke past a York defender and while on the partial breakaway, she stuffed the puck glove side past Eva Hall, who ended up with 20 saves off 26 shots.
Toronto’s goals came in pairs—Taylor Day scored her 13th goal of the season at the end of the first period, making the score 2-0 headed into the second frame.
Day pushed her way up the OUA scoring leader board, tallying another goal while on the power play for the Blues. The Lions’ lack of discipline was an issue and Toronto made no mistake capitalizing on it.
It wasn’t all about the veterans; second-year forward Meaghan O’Brien sniped a shot over Hall’s shoulder, making it 4-0, then second-year forward Lauren Straatman scored the Blues’ fifth goal of the game and her third goal of the season.
The Lions didn’t allow Blues goaltender Valencia Yordanov her third shutout of the year; Lauren Cavarzan and Kristen Barbara notched goals 38 seconds apart. The gap was too wide for a York comeback. though. Yordanov’s spectacular saves and 1.55 GAA were too much and too intimidating for the opposing squad to handle.
“We’re just trying to build, so that’s what we’re trying to do before we head into the playoffs: work on all the little things so we’re on fire by the time our first playoff game comes,” said Scheffel.
The Varsity Blues honoured graduating seniors Caitlin Maikawa, April Loojie, Jacqueline Sheffel, and Sonja Weidenfelder in a pre-game ceremony that left tears on the cheeks of some of the people in attendance or on the ice.
This article has been corrected.
- February 23, 2016 at 5 p.m.: The photo was incorrectly credited to facebook.com/UofTPowderPuff online.