The Varsity Blues gather at the bench during a Laurier timeout late in the third period.

Andrew Doyle comes up big in Varsity Blues win

U. of T. captain scores pair in 4-2 victory over Laurier

Andrew Doyle scored two goals as the University of Toronto Varsity Blues defeated the Laurier Golden Hawks 4-2 on Saturday night in OUA men’s hockey action at Varsity Arena.

The captain tied the game on a short-handed marker in the first, before netting the winner 1:25 into the third.

Through the first four games of the season, Doyle has five points, four goals and one assist.

“Andrew is playing exceptionally well, he is always a solid two-way hockey player, but now he is starting to produce some offence as well,” said Darren Lowe, head coach of the Varsity Blues. “The two guys that he is playing with are real offensive players, so it is nice to see him have some success.”

In all 27 games that Doyle played in last season, he had just two goals. This year, he has matched that tally just in short-handed markers. Against Concordia last week, he found the empty net as the Stingers went for a 6-on-4 advantage.

This has quickly doubled Doyle’s all-time short-handed goal stats.

“I think I have one in my first three years here,” said Doyle, who is in his second year as captain. “So to get two means we are doing something right turning the puck over, it’s encouraging.”

U. of T. (2-2) needed a win after a tough 4-1 loss against the Waterloo Warriors on Friday night. After a scoreless first the home squad jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second, and added a fourth in the third, before the Varsity Blues could get on the board.

Coach Lowe was impressed with how his team bounced back on Saturday.

“We didn’t play very well last night, it was good to win, obviously, today because we needed to win the division is so tight all the time,” said Lowe. “So going into the third period tied, we knew we had to have a big period and the guys responded.”

It was far from a perfect start for the Varsity Blues as they found themselves in the box twice in the first 10 minutes.

The second penalty led to Laurier jumping out to the early lead. Kyle Morrison had an entire empty side of the net, as Brett Willows could not slide over in time.

Doyle would tie it, then Christian Finch would give U. of T. its first lead of the night in the second. After Golden Hawks goalie Justin Furlong made the save on a Charlie Connell point shot, Finch picked the rebound and roofed it over Furlong’s shoulder.

Derek Schoenmakers would knot things up again near the end of the second. He was left wide open in front and he roofed it over Willows to cap the scoring for the Golden Hawks (1-2).

Just two minutes after Doyle got the go ahead goal, Patrick Marsh rung a shot in off the cross bar. From there, Willows shut the door, stopping all 17 shots he faced in the third. Overall, he made 31 saves, while Furlong had 27.

The Varsity Blues will look to carry this momentum above .500 for the first time the season, but the schedule is not making that an easy task.

“Only one game next week and it is against Western so we are really going to have to be on this week,” said Lowe. “The guys will get one or two days rest and then it will be right back at it in practice.”