By: Eric Dowdall- Staff writer
The Brock men’s lacrosse season came to a disappointing conclusion this past weekend, as the Badgers lost 14-9 to the Guelph Gryphons in the semi-finals of the CUFLA Baggataway Cup Championship Tournament. It was a poor way to finish an otherwise successful season for the Badgers, who lost just one game en route to the CUFLA West division title.
Brock entered the contest as favourites to move on to the championship game against McGill, scoring two victories over the same Guelph Gryphons in regular season play. However, on this day the Badgers were no match for the Gryphons, who were sparked by a hat-trick from Curtis Knight (Oshawa, Ont.) and a four-goal performance from Ryan Serville (Pickering, Ont.).
The game, which took place at Molson Stadium, was a surprisingly defensive battle early on. Guelph kicked off the scoring on a goal from Brett Ulbikas (Oakville, Ont.), however the Badgers dominated play for most of the quarter from then on. Brock caused several turnovers and had great ball movement, which led to goals from Mark Debrone (St. Catharines, Ont.) and Brandon Staal (Courtice, Ont.) as the Badgers led 2-1 after the first quarter.
Both goaltenders played well in the early moments, including a nice save from Jeremy Snider (Kitchener, Ont.) robbing Brock attacker Greg Davidson (Scarborough, Ont.). Serville and Davidson would then exchange goals, giving Brock a 3-2 edge midway through the second. Brock goaltender Ian Duffy (Ajax, Ont.) played well to keep the Badgers in the lead, including a great save on Serville when he was alone out front of the net.
The Gryphons wouldn’t stay down forever as they potted three straight goals in the final minutes of the quarter to jump out to a 5-3 lead entering half time.
The Badgers came out strong on their first possession of the second half, however a shot off the crossbar would keep them off the board. Duffy answered with two nice saves of his own, yet the Badgers couldn’t capitalize on the momentum. Knight would eventually extend the lead to three and the teams would trade goals for the remainder of the quarter, including Davidson’s second of the game.
The high-octane offense everyone expected finally came to life in the fourth quarter, as the teams battled to keep their seasons alive. The Gryphons stretched their lead to four on goals by Serville and Knight, however Travis Arch (Mississauga, Ont.) kept Brock in the game with a spin-move goal to make the score 9-6.
That would be as close as Brock would get however, as Knight and Serville scored yet again to make it a five-goal lead. The Badgers would mount a late rally in the winding minutes, including two goals from Kyle Davis (Caledon East, Ont.), although it would be too little, too late. The Gryphons would tack on two more goals in the final minute to ice it and the game ended in the 14-9 final.
Davis, Arch and Davidson led Brock scorers in the end, each netting two goals on the afternoon. Longpole Matt Fountain (Oshawa, Ont.), who was solid defensively throughout, would be named the Player of the Game for Brock.
The loss notwithstanding was an otherwise successful season for the Badgers, including some individual accolades for members of the team. Davis and Brandon Slade (Orangeville, Ont.) finished first and second in league scoring, with Slade also being named an All-Canadian. Defender Justin Pychel (Welland, Ont.) and Debrone would join Slade on the All-Canadian team, giving Brock three players on the team.
Despite these individual successes, the season did not end the way the Badgers had dreamed. The Badgers are sure to be frustrated with the loss, as they had high hopes of adding to their record 18 CUFLA championships, but will have to wait until next year for a chance to do so.