On a spooky Halloween night in Toronto, the UTM Eagles D-league hockey team earned their third win of the season in a 6-0 win over the UTSG black team.
UTM controlled the puck for the first ten minutes of the period with organized passing and build-up play from the back end through the neutral zone and into the attacking zone seemingly at will. They could dump the puck and forecheck or carry it over the blue line whenever they wanted and were starting to get some early chances. In the UTSG zone, they crashed the net and UTM’s, Jessy Edmonds, was barely stopped as he tried to sneak in front from behind.
UTM’s pressure paid off, opening the scoring with 8 minutes left in the first period when a quick shot from Husain Abdunabi went over a sprawling UTSG goalie, making it 1-0. It took nearly 15 minutes for UTM’s goaltender, Stephen Polack, to make his first save and he calmly steered the puck into the corners for his defenseman to initiate the offense. He was not troubled with too much work in this game and, in the end, earned an easy shutout.
Though the ice was tilted towards UTM, the game flowed up and down the rink at a frenetic pace. Whistles were sparse so play was free moving with so many crisp tape-to-tape passes to streaking wingers and smooth dekes that the game turned into one massive skills competition. UTM’s speedy puck handling forwards made it all but impossible for UTSG to keep up and things soon got out of hand.
Cue the snipe show with two minutes to go in the first period as Ian Kitt of UTM picked out the top corner from the right slot and makes the game 2-0 going into the second period.
The game was quiet with UTM playing a decent cycle game, feeding it along the boards, behind the net and back up to the defenders to make passes to forwards for shots in dangerous spots ten and fifteen feet in front of the net. They hemmed UTSG deep, made it difficult for them to exit the zone and forced turnovers or icings when that rarity did occur.
UTM slept for a 5-minute stretch in the second and UTSG started to sniff around the crease a little more than UTM appreciated. Just when UTSG showed signs of life, UTM quelled the rebellion with Edmonds’ second goal of the game which was an easy rebound tapper produced by Pasquale Campaigna’s efforts to dangle his way to the goalie. At the end of two periods the score was 3-0 and looked like an easy finish for UTM.
Right off the third period face off, a UTM player’s wrist shot pinged off the cross bar and sent a groan of disappoint from the UTM bench over the ice. Motivated by this flash of brilliance, UTM let loose a barrage of insane shots that whistled past the ears of the UTSG goalie and slammed into the boards or rattled off posts.
In a four-on-four situation late in the third period, UTM iced the game with an absolute howitzer of a snap shot from the high slot by Adam Oliveira, putting them up 4-0. They would add insult to injury with two more goals and ended the game 6-0.
There was a bit of a fracas in the last minute of the third period, but cooler heads prevailed and showed how the best part about the tri-campus development league is the fun these guys have and how much sportsmanship and goodwill this kind of sport fosters between people.