Ice hockey Blues beat first of two Oxford rivals in season opener
This year’s edition of the Men’s Blues ice hockey team is faced with a unique mission: GDBBO’s.
The extra “b” stands for “both,” since two Oxford teams have emerged in Division One of the British University Ice Hockey Association this season: one, called the “Oxford Blues,” which for political reasons split from the University Sports Federation, and another newly-formed team called the “Oxford University Blues.”
This means that Cambridge will play three league fixtures against Oxford teams before the heralded Varsity Match on March 8.
The first exposure to the Dark Blues came Saturday night against the Oxford University Blues in Peterborough.
Fresh from their first match against the mighty London Dragons who were rumoured to have had 150 players try out for the team, Cambridge was eager to start strongly.
Sure enough, it was the Light Blues who drew first blood as assistant captain Christopher Finch snuck out from the corner, stickhandled around both defensemen, and slipped the puck behind the Oxford keeper. Five minutes later, Finch would find the net again before setting up defenseman Alan Bauer for the third mark of the day, putting Cambridge up 3 – 0 at the end of the first period.
Oxford was not about to quit so early and got themselves on the scoreboard early in the second frame with a powerplay goal.
Veteran Julien Gagnon responded only a minute later by roofing a shot while the Dark Blues goalie was sprawled out, reaching for the puck.
Poor positional play on behalf of the Cambridge defense allowed Oxford to strike again, which was followed by a flood of Cambridge markers, scored by Gagnon, Finch, and Dr. Marty Smoragiewicz.
This set the Light Blues ahead 7 – 2. Finch would add his fourth on the night before the second period ran out with the Oxford players and goalie looking haggard.
After 40 minutes, it was Cambridge 8, Oxford 2.
The final period featured both teams exchanging two goals each, including two by centre Vaclav Baranek’s in his second game in a Cambridge uniform, and Finch potted one more in close succession.
The teams traded one more tally each with five minutes left in the period and Cambridge winning 12 – 6. No more scoring ensued.
Cambridge demonstrated their ability to generate offensive opportunities and, most importantly, to capitalize on them.
Excellent performances were had by Player of the Match Christopher Finch with six goals and five assists, Julien Gagnon with two goals and four assists, Vaclav Baranek with two goals and an assist, and goaltender Romain Tourenne who made more than 50 saves.
Final score, Cambridge Light Blues 12, Oxford University Dark Blues 6.