After picking up three of a possible four points on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10, the Brock men’s hockey team put themselves in a great position going into their game on Jan. 15 in Toronto against the Ryerson Rams. The Badgers came into their contest at Ryerson in fifth place in the OUA west with 20 points and the Rams in fourth place with 21.This was the first time Brock was back at the Mattamy Athletic Centre since being defeated by Ryerson in the first round of the playoffs last year on Feb. 23, 2014.
The Rams, who have always had an explosive offense, showed why right away, as Kyle Blanley scored just 1:05 into the game, giving Ryerson a 1-0. Just past the halfway point of the first period with the score now 2-1 Ryerson, Blanley would score again. That ended Badgers goaltender Clint Windsor’s night, who was making his tenth straight start in goal for Brock. Adrian Volpe, who had been out since late October with a lower body injury, came out in relief. He proved no better, as the Rams would score two more goals near the end of the period to take a 5-1 lead into the intermission.
In the second period, the high scoring affair would continue as both teams would exchange several goals, with the period ending Ryerson seven and Brock four. Jordan Gignac scored twice for the Badgers, and Kaine Geldart and Greg Jambrosich were the other two offensive sparks through two periods of play.
The third period had a lot more sticking, checking and defensive play, resulting in little to no offensive chances. Jason Kelly would be the only goal scoring, helping the rams double up on the Badgers and making the final score 8-4. Volpe stopped 29 of 32 shots in relief of Windsor to complete the game for the Badgers.
On Jan. 16 the Badgers were back in action against the ninth place Guelph Gryphons. The Badgers, who had lost to the Gryphons 7-3 earlier this season in St. Catharines, got off to a quick start, scoring two goals in 1:10 by Jordan Gignac and Greg Jambrosich. Three minutes later, Teal Burns (who had a hat-trick when Guelph beat Brock in St. Catharines) scored for the Gryphons to cut into the lead at 2-1. It only took three more minutes for Scott Simmonds of the Gryphons to make the score even after the first period of play.
In the (second period), Taylor Fielding of the Badgers and Carlos Amestoy of the Gryphons would each score, keeping it tied at three after the (second period) of play.
In the third, sixth and final period of the Badgers road trip, Brock looked extremely tired, and the Gryphons pounced all over them. Nicklas Huard scored four minutes in for Guelph and they would make two more goals in the period to take the game by a final score of 6-4. Adrian Volpe made his first start in over two months for the Badgers and stopped 26 of the 31 shots he faced before he was pulled for back-up goaltender Real Cormier.
The Badgers seemed to be in a great position to finish with a top playoff spot, hoping to have home advantage. There is major concern that they might miss the playoffs for a second time in the last three years. The Badgers, who allowed 14 goals in their last two road games, have allowed the most goals against this season (87), and have seen their seven point lead over ninth place decreased to just three over the past week. The Badgers still remain in fifth place, however, and in their six remaining regular season games, four of them are against teams ahead of them in the standings, including the first place and reigning OUA Champion Windsor Lancers.
The Badgers are back in action at the Seymour Hannah Centre on Jan. 21 against the Western Mustangs, and Jan. 23 when the Lancers come to St. Catharines. Both games begin at 7:15 p.m.