The 2013 RBC Steel Blade Classic was quite the classic as the Brock University men’s hockey team (1-0, OUA) won a thriller against the Laurier Golden Hawks (0-1, OUA) by a score of 6-5 in overtime on September 20.
The Seymour-Hannah Centre was packed with rowdy Badger fans all night as over 1,400 people were in attendance. With Homecoming 2013 being the centre of attention this week, fans were filled with school spirit and the arena was covered in Badger red.
The RBC Steel Blade Classic is an annual tradition at Brock since 1999 as it showcases the Brock men’s hockey program against other Canadian and occasionally American hockey programs. The Badgers have seen recent success in the last few years as they were victorious in the previous two Steel Blade Classic’s beating St. Mary’s University and Guelph University respectively.
Not only did this game have much meaning to it as the Steel Blade was on the line but it was also the first regular season game of season, so Brock wanted to start the season with a win.
After narrowly missing the playoffs last season on the final game of the season, getting off to a good start during this game was vital. The Badgers could not afford to start their season off with a loss, as every point is crucial in the tight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West division.
The Badgers executed exactly what they wanted to do to start the game as Thomas Stajan (Mississauga, Ont) opened the scoring just 3:17 into the game. Johnson Andrews (Niagara-on-the-lake, Ont) tallied a nice assist as Stajan shot a perfect back-hander over the Laurier goalie to make it 1-0 for Brock.
Brock goaltender Dalton McGrath (Brampton, Ont) made a few nice saves early to keep the Golden Hawks scoreless. However, that zero on the scoreboard for Laurier would not last much longer as Matthew Brown (Calgary, Alta) tied the game at one.
After one period of play, the score remained tied at one and a close battle seemed like it would be the theme for the rest of the game.
Brock took an early penalty in the second period, which would end up costing them a goal. Laurier continued to crash the net and during a scramble in front, Tyler Slothers (Oakville, Ont) buried the loose puck to give the Golden Hawks a 2-1 lead.
Minutes later, Laurier scored another goal to take a two-goal lead as a risky play turned into a breakaway for the Golden Hawks.
Brock defenceman Dan Tanel (Brampton, Ont) stepped up in the play making a huge hit on the Laurier offensive player but before he hit him, Benjamin Skinner (Markham, Ont) received the puck for a breakaway. Skinner made a great head fake and then scored on his forehand just inside the right post.
Penalty troubles continued for the Badgers as they took another bad penalty to put Laurier on the power play at 11:06 of the second period.
Just as the penalty ended, Laurier scored another goal at 13:23 of the period to give them a three-goal lead. Laurier’s Brendan Woods (London, Ont) was in front of the net and progressed to chip in the puck past McGrath, giving Laurier a big lead.
The second period ended with Laurier holding a three-goal lead and in total control of the game. Brock could not get anything together and needed a big third period to have any chance of making a game out of it.
At 4:28 of the third period, the nightmare continued for Badger fans as Brent Vandenberg (Burlington, Ont) scored to make the game 5-1 in Laurier’s favour. Every player on the ice touched the puck before a fake shot deflected to Vandenberg’s stick for the easy one-timer.
After this goal made the Badger deficit four goals, Brock called a 30-second time out to keep their composure and stay focused. Whatever was said in that time out definitely worked and the Badgers began to play a great game.
At 7:29 of the third period, Andrews tipped in a shot from Matt Abercrombie (Sarnia, Ont) to cut the deficit to three goals.
Three minutes later at 10:55 of the period, Josh Schram (Paris, Ont) got the entire building fired up as he scored a nice wrap around goal. Dylan MacEachern (Mississauga, Ont) received the assist on the play.
The strong Badger crowd was now wide awake after watching their team cut the deficit in half and before they knew it, Brock found themselves just a goal behind.
With seven minutes remaining, Jeff MacPherson’s (Bradford, Ont) shot on the net deflected to Abercrombie’s stick and he would not miss the great scoring chance shooting the puck right over the goaltender’s glove to make the game 5-4.
After scoring three unanswered goals, Laurier called a time out as they were trying not to blow such a substantial lead.
With one minute left in the game, Brock went into desperation mode as they pulled their goaltender to get an extra attacker on the ice. After failing on a few chances, Abercrombie did the unimaginable scoring with 10 seconds left to tie the game up at 5-5.
The Seymour-Hannah Centre went absolutely crazy when Abercrombie scored and the impossible comeback became a reality as time winded down.
Heading into overtime, the Badgers had all the momentum and before you knew it the comeback was completed as Abercrombie played hero once again.
From just outside the hash marks, Abercrombie shot a perfectly placed puck just under the Laurier goaltender’s blocker to leave the Badger fans in joy. Abercrombie’s goal was not only a game-winning goal but it was his third goal of the game, giving him a natural hat-trick on the night.
This game was one of the craziest comebacks in Brock athletics history and all the fans in attendance were a true reason to the Badger’s comeback. This win was also important as it gave Brock their third consecutive RBC Steel Blade Classic win.
The men’s hockey team will look to keep their magic going as their next home game takes place on Oct. 11 against Laurentian University. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. at the Seymour-Hannah Centre.