Tensions were expected to be high during the semifinal match between the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses—the famed “East versus West” meeting—on Monday, March 17. UTSC had claimed victory over UTM in their previous two playoff matches, so it was no surprise that this game had players on both sides hyped up.
An explosive start after the puck dropped showed the eagerness of both teams to get an early lead. UTM’s players even ran into UTSC’s goalie while trying to get a pass that crossed in front of the net, which in turn caused some harsh words between UTM and UTSC players, though no penalties were given out.
UTSC tried to get back at the Eagles for bumping their goalie, but UTM’s netminder Ben Gryschuck made a simple glove save and put an end to their rush. At the other end, UTM player Mike Florinda scored a goal on Scarborough’s weak goalie, but it was quickly waved off due to the net being off its moorings.
Despite the first period being a back-and-forth battle, Scarborough got the lucky bounce to take a 1-0 lead with less than two minutes left to play.
The Eagles didn’t stop moving and mounted a series of attacks on Scarborough. UTM forward Zach Berg almost snuck a puck through the legs of the UTSC goalie, but unfortunately couldn’t get the equalizer. UTM’s captain and all-star, Kyle Kuczynski, was also given a great scoring chance, but again Scarborough stopped the attack. The Eagles remained down a goal at the end of the second period.
Right after the third period began, Kuczynski rifled home a shot to tie the game at 1-1, with lots of time remaining. The Eagles then showed their passing prowess by expertly circulating the puck between all three forwards before putting it in the back of the net to make the score 2-1 in UTM’s favour.
UTSC was able to secure themselves a 5-on-3 power play after some disputed calls by the referee. After the ice tilted in their favour, Scarborough took an unfortunate penalty, reducing their advantage and making it easier for UTM’s penalty killers.
Even with their goalie pulled, UTSC wasn’t able to get a tying goal, while the Eagles sailed a puck into the empty net to get an insurance goal and secured themselves a 3-1 win over Scarborough.
UTM forward Rory Bourgeois was happy to finally win against his long-time rivals. “Me and Scarborough have a personal relationship. We’ve hated each other for years. We’ve had an intimate rivalry,” he said. “[After] three years of this, it feels good to knock them out of the playoff, just knock all of their teeth out in the playoffs.”
UTM plays in the tri-campus men’s finals against St. George on Monday, March 24.