March 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 85  

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Toronto Varsity Blues

RECORD: 9-10-4-1
(First Place Mid East Division)
PLAYOFFS: Defeated Queen’s University in divisional championship 2-0.

The Varsity Blues come into this weekend’s Queen’s Cup as the underdog. They won the Mid East Division despite having a record that was below .500, which would lead most to write them off.

However, don’t tell that to the Blues. If history repeats itself, Friday night’s match-up with the Western Mustangs should be a nail-biter. In the only regular season meeting between the two teams in November, Toronto held a 7-3 lead after two periods, only to fall apart in the third and lose to the Mustangs 9-8 in overtime.

Despite the role of underdog, Toronto head coach Darren Lowe is still optimistic.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s one game; [anything can happen]. There’s no question that we are the underdog. Western has been one of the best teams in the country all year. We are just happy to be here,” he says.

“In the first part of the season, we had a lot of young guys that didn’t grasp what it takes to win,” Lowe says. “We lost six or seven games by one goal, and when you start the season like that it’s hard to get back in it in the second half.”

The Varsity Blues offense is led by one of the top goal scorers in Ontario University Athletics – Ian Malcolm. Malcolm tied with Jeff Richards of Lakehead for the league lead in goals with 22. Toronto has a number of other high scoring forwards including Tyler Middlebrook, Mike Nason, George Trifon and Simon Barg.

“Our defense as a whole has been pretty good. We have a couple of young goaltenders, but we’ve got contributions from everyone this season and it’s been an overall team effort,” Lowe explains.

Toronto defenseman Mark Hynes was named an OUA West second team All-Star and Lowe also pointed to Ben Barrett as one of his top defensemen.

In goal, Tim Knight and Ryan Grinnell split most of the work load this season. Both had save percentages over 90 per cent.

Even though the events of the Nov. 21 game will be on the minds of most, Lowe says he and his team will try not to think about it.

—Ian Denomme



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