In a rematch of last Sunday’s OUA final, the defending national champion Toronto Varsity Blues once again defeated the Guelph Gryphons, this time by a 2-1 score, to close the first day of the 2011 FHC-CIS women’s field hockey championship Thursday night at the University of Calgary.
While last weekend’s Ontario title match ended in a 6-0 win for the Blues, however, this contest was the second in eight hours for both teams, and the two sides struggled with the wind and cold as the mercury dipped below zero under the lights at Hawkings Field.
“We bounced back and got the win, but I don’t think we played very well tonight,” said John DeSouza, the Blues’ head coach after his top-seeded team improved to 1-1 at the tournament. “We beat them 6-0 at the OUA final last week, but this tournament is a tough schedule. We have three games in 26 hours, but luckily for us we just have one game a day the rest of the way.
“I do think the cold affected both teams tonight, and there’s an altitude difference here that we’re still needing to get used to.”
The loss was the second of the day for Guelph, which fell to 0-2 after an earlier 3-2 setback against the host Calgary Dinos. Toronto dropped its first match of the day 2-1 to UBC.
Lauren Mansfield opened the scoring for the Varsity Blues on their only penalty corner opportunity of the night. A shot from the top of the circle bounced off the left pad of Guelph netminder Kaye McLagan, right onto the waiting stick of Mansfield in tight, and she had little trouble putting it home.
The Blues would add another early in the second half when Alexandra Evanyshyn scored her first of the tournament.
Neither side had much luck offensively from there, with much of the play focused around the middle of the field and scoring chances hard to come by. The Gryphons finally broke through in the 69th minute when Brittany Seidler, the OUA player of the year, scored her third goal of the day on a scramble in front of Toronto goalie Kathryn Williams.
Toronto, however, was able to kill the clock from there.
The schedule improves for both Ontario teams for the rest of the tournament, which wraps up Sunday afternoon with the championship final. Up next for the fourth-seeded Gryphons are the No. 5 seed Alberta Pandas (0-1) on Friday at 12:20 p.m. Mountain, while the Blues will enjoy a morning off before facing the host and third-seeded Calgary Dinos (1-0) at 4 p.m.
The second-ranked UBC Thunderbirds lead the way after the first day of competition with a 2-0 record.
TOR: Lauren Mansfield (1), 22nd
TOR: Alexandra Evanyshyn (1), 41st
GUE: Brittany Seidler (3), 69th
TOR: Kathryn Williams (W, 70:00, 1 GA, 1-1)
GUE: Kaye McLagan (L, 70:00, 2 GA, 0-2)
Players of the game
TOR: Katherine McNeill
GUE: Brittany Seidler
1. Toronto (OUA champions)
2. UBC (Canada West champions)
3. Calgary (Canada West second place)
4. Guelph (OUA finalists)
5. Alberta (Canada West third place)
STANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times local: Mountain Time)
Round-robin standings (after 4 of 10 games)
GP W L T GF GA PTS
1. UBC 2 2 0 0 4 1 6
2. Calgary 1 1 0 0 3 2 3
3. Toronto 2 1 1 0 3 3 3
4. Alberta 1 0 1 0 0 2 0
5. Guelph 2 0 2 0 3 5 0
NOTE: 3 points for a win and 1 point for a tie.
Thursday, Nov. 3
9:30 Round-Robin Game 1: UBC 2 Toronto 1
11:50 Round-Robin Game 2: Calgary 3 Guelph 2
15:30 Round-Robin Game 3: UBC 2 Alberta 0
17:50 Round-Robin Game 4: Toronto 2 Guelph 1
Friday, Nov. 4
10:00 Round-Robin Game 5: Calgary vs. UBC
12:20 Round-Robin Game 6: Guelph vs. Alberta
16:00 Round-Robin Game 7: Toronto vs. Calgary
Saturday, Nov. 5
10:00 Round-Robin Game 8: Calgary vs. Alberta
12:20 Round-Robin Game 9: UBC vs. Guelph
16:00 Round-Robin Game 10: Toronto vs. Alberta
17:30 Tie-Breaking Strokes (if necessary)
Sunday, Nov. 6
10:00 Bronze medal
13:00 Championship final