Late goals from Spencer Albert and Nicholas Hauger helped the St Andrews Typhoons retain the Jonny Wookey Memorial Varsity with a 7-5 win over the Edinburgh Eagles.
Partly assisted by a raucous atmosphere inside the Dundee Ice Arena, the game far exceeded the standards of last year, with almost nothing between the two sides over three periods.
Despite the Typhoons starting brightest and opening the scoring, it was the Eagles who led after the first 20 minutes of action 2-1. St Andrews started the game like a proverbial house on fire, with Andrew Krug firing narrowly wide. It was therefore no surprise when Chase McCarthy opened the scoring with just over 3 minutes played, getting the crucial touch in a scramble.
However, Edinburgh levelled just over a minute later and after that the game really settled down as the away side got more possession and both teams struggled to create clear chances. That said, it was Edinburgh who would score next with eight minutes of the period remaining to take a somewhat deserved lead.
If the first period had been Edinburgh’s, the second was where the momentum shifted. St Andrews began just as they had in the first, firing on all cylinders in the opening minutes and they were instantly rewarded, Duncan Hindmarch firing in after just two minutes to level the scores.
However, this time there was no instant repost from Edinburgh as St Andrews maintained some intense pressure and they were rewarded four minutes later with a goal from Krug, who was playing in his last Varsity game before graduating. That gave them a one-goal lead and that lead was doubled a mere 11 seconds later. Direct from the restart St Andrews got possession and Mackenzie Blair beat the keeper to make it 4-2. Some sloppy Typhoons defending allowed Edinburgh to pull one back before the end of the second period but it was still the home side that led 4-3 with the final 20 to play.
Much as the first two periods told different tales, the third was also its own unique chapter, demonstrating how evenly matched the two sides were. Edinburgh opened the scoring in the opening two minutes but parity was only restored for 64 seconds, as Johan Venema retained his composure to slot home for a 5-4 lead.
The away side, seemingly unaffected by a very partisan crowd, again drew level but as the famous sports adage goes, you are most likely to concede after having just scored, and St Andrews drew ahead just two minutes later. Spencer Albert made a break that got the entire crowd on their feet and he made no mistake to make it 6-5 to St Andrews. You could sense that the Typhoons coach Jed Long wanted another goal to make sure of the result and as such the game remained very cagey for the final 10 minutes, as St Andrews faced some intense Edinburgh pressure. It was here that the St Andrews goalkeeper, Spencer Caminsky, stood out with some excellent goaltending.
In the end though it was St Andrews who would close out the game in the same way they opened it. With the Eagles team, including their keeper, all forward in an attempt to try and level and force the game into overtime, St Andrews stole possession and broke, allowing Hauger to fire into an empty net in the closing seconds to make it 7-5. That ensured St Andrews retained the Varsity trophy for another year after a game that would have done former teammates, Jonny Wookey and Kieran McCann, extremely proud. And as far as the afterparty goes, the Jonny Wookey Memorial Varsity once again proved to be a highlight of the St Andrews social calendar.