The Toronto Varsity Blues found themselves in another close game, but this time came out on top 2-1 over the St. Thomas Tommies in Saturday’s second consolation game.
In a grind-it-out affair, third-year forward Mathilde De Serres propelled her team to the consolation final with the game-winner at 12:14 of the second period.
“No one wants the season to end. One more game,” De Serres said. “We were so close yesterday and today we wanted to give it all we had.”
Despite Friday’s disappointment, the Varsity Blues wanted to show that they’re better than the eighth seed they were given ahead of the tournament.
“We came in here as underdogs and we have everything to prove, so consolation or not, we wanted to give it our all.”
After a rough outing the night before, St. Thomas goaltender Abby Clarke stepped up in a big way in the first period. The Tommies were penalized five times in the opening 12 minutes and played undermanned for the majority of that time, including contending against a 5-on-3 advantage. Their penalty kill did an admirable job keeping Toronto shooting from the outside, but it was Clarke’s performance between the pipes that kept her team in the game with her 16 saves in the stanza.
With 44 seconds to go in the frame, St. Thomas’ undisciplined play came back to haunt them. While on the power play, Louie Bieman set up Kassie Roache with a short pass across the crease for the easy tap in to pull the Varsity Blues ahead 1-0.
But the Tommies responded seconds later, when Alexandra Woods used a screen of a Toronto defender and fired the puck top bunk to knot it at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
The Varsity Blues took over the lead 12 minutes into second when Stephanie Ayres sent a long pass to De Serres, who beat the last defender and flipped a backhand past Clarke for the nifty goal. Toronto was also effective defensively and held St. Thomas to just three shots in the frame, as they carried a 2-1 advantage into the third.
“I just wanted to work hard and help my teammates,” De Serres said. “There’s close support and communication on the bench and everyone is super positive.”
They brought that same defensive intensity in the final frame and limited the Tommies to four shots (12 throughout the game) to seal the victory.
The Varsity Blues will face the Manitoba Bisons in the consolation final on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT.
“We have to keep playing our game. These whole playoffs we told each other we were going to change nothing and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Players of the Game
- Toronto: Lauren Straatman
- St. Thomas: Abby Clarke