In their final tournament of the season, the Upper Canada College Varsity hockey team took part in the National Independent School Invitational Championship. Following a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of St. Andrew’s College in the final game of the CISAA playoffs, the Blues were looking for a measure of revenge entering the weekend.
In their opening game of the tournament, UCC faced off against their heated rivals from St. Mike’s, winning in dominant fashion. The Blues owned the ice right from the drop of the puck, scoring four unanswered goals en route to a 4-0 start to the tournament. Goals from rookies Chris Cusinato, Alex Hickman, PJ Bujouves, and Bendan Tighe added to the stellar shutout performance by goaltender Colby Muise.
The second game of the tournament saw the Blues take on Academie Saint-Louis, with a bye directly to the quarterfinals on the line. The magnitude of the game was clearly not lost on the Blues, as they came out firing on all cylinders once again. Reid Humphrey and Ryder Thususka found the back of the net in the first, and Alex Lee, Elliott McDermott, and Jonathan Thompson would each tally to extend the Blues’ lead in the third. The Blues would eventually cruise to a 5-2 victory, allowing just a single goal in each of the first and third periods.
In the quarter finals the Blues found themselves up against Ulysse Prep for the second time this season. In this do or die game the action was tight from start to finish. Following the first period, the Blues held a 2-1 lead following goals by Jeremy Marco and Ian Pepin. In the second frame Marco would extend the Blues’ lead to 3-1 with his second of the game. Ulysse would make a push in the third, scoring in the opening minute of the period, but UCC would answer with a goal from Keenan Conlon to take the game by a final score of 4-2.
With a birth in the finals on the line, the Blues faced off against another Quebec team, Stanstead College. In their tightest game of the tournament, the Blues had to earn every inch of ice against the bigger Stanstead squad, eventually winning by just a single goal. Ryder Thususka opened the scoring for the Blues, but it would soon be answered by the opposition. In the second frame the Blues cracked the game wide open, with goals from Sam Morin, Reid Humphrey, and Jeremy Marco, and just a single scored by Stanstead. From that point forward the Blues shut the door, allowing only one final goal, advancing to the finals by a final score of 4-3.
In the final game of the National Independent School Invitational Championship the Upper Canada College Blues squared off against the Bishop’s College School Bears. Both teams entered the game on a roll, so gaining the upper hand would be a major challenge for both teams. The parity between the two clubs was on full display, as through the first two frames only a single goal was scored. Unfortunately for the Blues that goal was scored by BCS, as were the next two. Ultimately the BCS Bears would defeat the Blues 3-0, ending UCC’s championship bid on a heart-breaking note.
Despite the loss, the Blues’ season was an enormous success, overcoming multiple key injuries to achieve great success both individually and as a team.