Ice hockey Blues see off national champions

CUIHC follow up their victory against Oxford with another big win

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On the tails of their victory against Oxford the week before, the Cambridge Men’s Blues ice hockey team faced a bigger challenge Saturday night: hosting the reigning British ice hockey National Champion Southampton Spitfires.

While it is difficult in this league to predict how much talent is retained and gained from one year to the next, the Light Blues expected fierce opposition as they sought to improve their record to 2 – 1.

An extremely sloppy start saw Cambridge concede a goal after just 16 seconds of play.  Despite lots of offensive pressure, it was not until near the end of the first period when Light Blues’ sniper Julien Gagnon buried home a blistering slap shot from the top of the circle to even the tally.

BUIHA leading scorer Christopher Finch in action, who scored an impressive three goals and provided an additional three assists. Photo by Jeff Torosian.

Two minutes later, Cambridge scored again, this time on the power play.  British University Ice Hockey Association (BUIHA) leading scorer Christopher Finch picked up a loose puck and cruised into the slot before burying a wrist shot over the Southampton keeper’s shoulder.

Thus, after 20 minutes of play, Cambridge paused uneasily, up 2 – 1.

Halfway through the second frame, Southampton tied it up, but the Blues quickly responded with three unanswered goals.  Gagnon and Finch teamed up for two and Kum Nathan got one of his own off a tricky bank shot from behind the goal line.

This upped the measure to 5 – 2, Cambridge.

The next two minutes saw an explosion of firepower, with each team banking two more goals each.  Nathan got his second of the night, tapping home a Finch shot that rested on the goal line and Swedish legend Oscar Wilsby curled around the Spitfires’ defense and sailed a shot that found the back of the net.

Cambridge returned to the dressing room after the second period leading 7 – 4.

Lack of disciplined play in the third cost Southampton penalties and the men in Light Blue did not hesitate to capitalize.

Finch completed his hat trick with his patented, stealthy sneak out of the corner and snipe from the slot, and not long after, Nathan secured a hat trick of his own.

Excellent performances were had by Player of the Match Julien Gagnon with two goals and an assist, Christopher Finch with three goals and three assists, Jaason Geerts with five assists, and Team-voted Player of the Game Kum Nathan with three goals and an assist.

Final score, Cambridge Light Blues 9, Southampton Spitfires 4.

Cambridge’s next action is their re-match against the Dark Blues, this time in Oxford, on Saturday, November 22 at 23:00.