The Blues fought through a tough long road en route to earning a National Independent School Championship. The Varsity team started off slow with a 2-1 loss in round robin play to Ridley College. The two teams have seen a lot of each other over the last few weeks and there was no love lost as the game was once again a full blown battle.
With a loss in their first game the Blues needed a win in game two as they faced off against Rothesay School from New Brunswick. The Blues started strong scoring in the first seven minutes but Rothesay was not going away as they answered back with a goal of their own a few minutes later. The first period ended in a 1-1 tie. The Blues came out strong in the second and third putting away their opponents and finishing up with a tidy 5-1 win.
This set up a tough quarter final match against Ulysse School from Quebec, a team that the Blues have faced a few times this season with mixed success. The game did not disappoint fans as the Blues had to battle hard for their continued life in the tournament. The Blues scored first on a goal from Tristan Vaillancourt-Gauthier in the first and the scored stayed that way for two full periods. Unfortunately for the Blues, Ulysse came out and equalized early in the third. Nothing was settled as the teams traded chances for the remainder of the third. Early in overtime, Blues captain Elliott McDermott sealed the victory with his first goal of the tournament. Game Photos
With a win in the quarters the Blues were set to face Ridley College again in the semifinals. Seeking redemption for a lack lustre performance in their first game, the Blues came out firing on all cylinders. While they gave up the first goal just 30 seconds into the game, they Blues settled down and answered back with a shorthanded goal just minutes later. This was followed up by a strong second period where the Blues added two more to take a 3-1 lead. Ridley was not ready to go away and just six minutes into the third closed the gap to just one goal. The Blues played a solid defensive third and with less than a minute left in regulation added an empty netter to punch their ticket to the final.
St. Andrew’s College and Stanstead College had played just before the Blues in their semifinal that went to double overtime with Stanstead coming out on top 3-2. The Blues were set to play, but losing Ryder Thususka in the first game of the tournament to injury was certainly a blow. The Blues would need to rely on their six remaining healthy defensemen. In front of a healthy crowd at St. Andrew’s the Blues took on Stanstead. The Blues came out slowly playing the majority of the first half of the first period in their own end. The tide started to change when Jeremy Kofman fired an absolutely beautiful pass from deep in his own end to a streaking William Monzione who had snuck in behind the Stanstead defense. Picking the puck up smoothly on the oppositions blue line, he made no mistake cashing in for the first goal of the game. Early in the second period on the power play the Blues went ahead 2-0 on a nice passing play that ended with an Elliott McDermott shot. Standstead would not surrender though, coming back hard to score one of their own. Stanstead threatened to score a second but it was Artem Meshcherin who took a pass from Pier-Olivier Lefèbvre behind the Stanstead defense in on goal to retake a two goal lead. The score at the end of two periods was 3-1 for the Blues. Going into the third, the Blues had the most dangerous lead in hockey and Stanstead came out flying. Stanstead scored their second of the game less than two minutes into the frame and their third just two minutes later. The most dangerous lead in hockey had just become a tie game and all the momentum against the Blues. Just as things were starting to look bleak the Blues took control with Ryan Moore scoring on a terrific feed from Eddie Yan. Despite a strong push by Stanstead in the third the Blues not only held onto the lead but threatened to score on a few occasions.
Congratulations to the boys and coaching staff on an excellent tournament. The UCC Blues – this year’s NISIC Tournament Champions. What a wonderful way to end the season.
Congratulations also to Joe Howe – Final Game MVP and Elliott McDermott – Tournament MVP