By: John Mignelli- Assistant Sports Editor
On January 24, Andrew Radjenovic (Hamilton, Ont.) brought a raucous home crowd to their feet when he scored the game-winning-goal in overtime for the Brock Badgers (10-9-3 OUA) to win over the Laurier Golden Hawks (7-12-2 OUA) 3-2 at the Seymour-Hannah Centre. Brock also defeated the York Lions (12-9-1 OUA) on Jan. 25 in Toronto.
Consistent with their last few home games, a hooking call had the Badgers kill a penalty early in the game but luckily their penalty-kill unit was sharp and organized and goaltender Adrian Volpe (Burlington, Ont.) held everything together from the inside blue ice. Volpe made a huge save shortly after, dropping his left pad to deny a shot from Greg Cirilli (Barrie, Ont.) of Laurier who found himself free with the puck and space in the Badger zone.
A power play goal was scored midway through the opening period by C.J. Dickson (Thorold, Ont.) to give Brock the first advantage of the contest. Dickson’s fourth goal of the season came when he caught a pass from defenseman Anthony Geldart (Kingston, Ont.) and put on the brakes by the right half-wall in order to allow the power play to set up. Without any options to pass to, Dickson coasted in to the top of the right circle and sniped a wrist-shot into the top of the net.
Next was a goal by Matt Abercrombie (Sarnia, Ont.), also on a power play. This time, the goal was scored from a wrist shot that Abercrombie popped in from the left half-wall. Sammy Banga (Windsor, Ont.) and Dan Tanel (Brampton, Ont.) were credited with assists.
Although he let in two perimeter shots, Laurier goaltender Duncan Long (Brantford, Ont.) was left out to dry for most of the first period by his teammates. Long had robbed Brock of a sure goal earlier on the same power play that Abercrombie scored in, but he was eventually beaten for the second time in the period.
The first period ended with a thrill when Volpe made an unbelievable save to cap off a great first 20 minutes. A cross-crease pass by two Laurier forwards left Volpe ostensibly hopeless beside an empty net, but he miraculously stopped the puck from crossing the line with his left arm much to the delight of the crowd.
While Volpe made a play to energize the crowd toward the end of the first, Abercrombie deflated it toward the beginning of the second period. An outside shot that had hit the left post was mishandled by Abercrombie and the puck trickled into the Badger net cutting their lead to 2-1. Mackenzie Braid (Mississauga, Ont.) was awarded the goal for the Golden Hawks having been the last Laurier player to touch the puck.
Laurier almost scored again short-handed when Ben Skinner (Markham, Ont.) blocked a point-shot and was cut loose on a breakaway but Volpe stood fearless and kept Brock ahead.
Into the third period clinging to a one-goal lead, Brock kept up the offensive pressure but could not finish on any scoring chances.
Six minutes into the frame, Laurier tied the game thanks to a beautiful goal by Derek Schoenmakers (Kitchener, Ont.). Greg Lamoureux (Calgary, Alb.) gained the Brock zone through the middle of the blue-line and tipped the puck off to Schoenmakers who was blitzing down the right wing. Schoenmakers made no mistake grazing the bottom of the crossbar over Volpe’s right shoulder.
Brock was unable to take advantage of a five minute power play with five minutes left in the period and it seemed that the inability to capitalize on this opportunity would boost the momentum in Laurier’s favour.
However, a point shot from Tanel bounced off of Long’s glove and Radjenovic was there to smartly chip it into the net, ending the game and capturing Brock’s fourth win in their last five games.
On Jan. 25, Abercrombie, Banga and captain Josh Schram (Paris, Ont.) scored three goals to lead the York Lions 3-0 after the first period.
Backup goaltender Real Cormier (Trenton, Ont.) played roughly 52 minutes of the game and stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced, recording his first career victory in his Badgers debut.
Dickson scored for the second night in a row on a power play in the second period to keep York’s comeback attempt at bay. Later, Abercrombie cashed in a goal into the empty net towards the end of the game, giving him four points on the night and a total of five for the weekend.
With the 5-3 victory, the Badgers are now one of the hottest OUA hockey teams with a record of 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
Brock’s next and last home game of the regular season will take place on Feb. 8 against Lakehead. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at the Seymour-Hannah Centre.
Hockey Night in Toronto Presented by Isaac’s Army:
For any Badger fan looking to keep up with the team or for those just looking to spend a day in Toronto, tickets for the Isaac’s Army annual trip to Toronto can be purchased at the BUSU office at Brock.
The tickets are 40 dollars each and include the cost of transportation to and from Toronto, access to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and entrance into the old Maple Leaf Gardens – now called the Mattamy Centre – for Brock’s game against Ryerson. The day of the trip is January 30 and more information can be found on the Brock men’s hockey team’s Facebook page.