Brock winter athletics: Year in review

As we crawl out of the darkness of winter and escape from the bitter cold, I can’t help but think back on all the winter athletic memories that we partook in. In terms of Brock winter athletics, I remember a lacking men’s hockey season, a dominating wrestling team, an impressive curling season and many more. This winter season brought some historical events in Brock’s history and this article will showcase some of those historical moments while also picking out some less memorable moments for Brock Athletics.

Mitch Nardi on a breakaway / Christy Mitchell

Mitch Nardi on a breakaway / Christy Mitchell

Men’s Hockey
Overall, Brock Men’s Hockey had a disappointing season. The team finished last in the OUA West Division, as the season ended with a 6-22 record. However, this wasn’t a true reflection of the entire season. The Badgers were noticed as a team that played with power and precision; each series had a player that was able to compete with their opponents with ease and often it was within one goal near the third period that made the difference for the Badgers.

Despite the poor season and just coming short of a playoff spot, head coach Murray Nystrom was not too concerned with his team’s performance this season. When speaking to Nystrom during post-game interviews, he would often mention that this was a rebuilding season.

Some may argue that Nystrom’s words were an easy escape route to avoid the question, but Nystrom was simply stating the facts as they are. Nystrom’s team had a lot of young new players on the roster that either transferred from other schools or were first year students playing in the OUA for the first time.

Therefore, it took a lot of time for players to get adjusted to a new system.

One player that was meant to work wonders for the Badgers was defenseman Jake Cardwell. A transfer from the Carleton Ravens, Cardwell moved to Brock and ended up being a huge contributor for the Badgers. Unfortunately his season was cut short as he suffered an injury. Despite an early end to his season, it was evident that Cardwell was a huge contributor for the team as he still placed fourth in goals despite only playing 14 games.

In spite of losing such a valuable player, the Badgers had many players who made large contributions to the team. Chris Maniccia proved to be a valuable player as he landed first in goals with eight and 20 assists. Skylar Pacheco demonstrated his athleticism as he earned 19 points this season on five goals and 14 assists.

Women’s Hockey
Perhaps one of the most underrated teams this year was Brock’s Women’s Hockey as they proved themselves to be a very athletic team in the winter season. Finishing their season with a 10-13-1 OUA record and placing themselves ninth overall. The women’s hockey team started off slow but displayed their athleticism near the end of the season.

The women struggled the first half of the season as they found it very difficult to walk away with a win. Later on, as the regular season started to come to a conclusion, the women’s team really picked up the pace as they went from a losing streak to winning streak that almost landed them a spot in the playoffs.

Most significantly for the Badgers was their game against the Windsor Lancers as they walked away with a 5-4 win. The game started off looking to go in the Lancers favor as they took a 2-0 lead. Shortly after the Badgers were able to take the lead with a 3-2 lead to end the first period. As the game was tied 3-3 in the second period, the Badgers were able to take the lead in the third period and win 5-4.

Men’s Basketball
The team with the biggest fan-base in Brock Athletics, the men’s basketball team had an unforgettable season as they ended second in the OUA Central division with a 13-6 record.

The Men’s Basketball team had quite the season as they proved their dominance as they were ranked as the fourth best team in the CIS for a majority of the season.

The Badgers had some many memorable moments as they were able to land a playoff spot for the first time in three seasons before ending their playoff season to a loss against Carlton.

Some recognizable players this season include Dani Elgadi, who finished second in OUA blocks and steals. For the season, Elgadi shot 47 per cent from the field and 77.3 per cent from the charity stripe. Johneil Simpson was recognized for his season as he finished second on the team in scoring averaging 16.6 points and was third in rebounding averaging 6. Lastly, Tyler Brown had an excellent season as he averaged seven points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Women’s Basketball
Women’s Basketball seemed to have a successful season. Ranked third in the Central OUA division, the Women’s Basketball Team ended their season with a 10-9 record.

The women dominated throughout the whole season as they fought their journey to the playoffs as they took on the Guelph Gryphons in the first round but lost.

Key players this season on the team were Melissa Tatti who averaged 10.2 points and 2.5 rebounds. She was tied for the team lead in steals with 38 and was second in assists with 47. She was also second in three-pointers, going 30-for-102 and third in free throw percentage at 81.3 per cent. Chrissy Sirignano was also recognized for her excellent season as she ended it after averaging 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in just 13.5 minutes per game off the bench. She finished second on the team in free throw percentage as she shot 85.7 per cent and was fourth in three-pointers made with 15.

Brock Wrestling
Head coach Marty Calder and his wrestling team finished their season being perhaps the most decorated team in Brock Athletics as they walked away with medals and championship banners.

After a big upset to McMaster last season at the OUA Championships, the Men’s Wrestling team was able to reclaim their title as they walked away victorious in the championship, while the women also claimed the OUA Championship as both teams ended the tournament with 13 gold medals.

Both teams then went full-swing into the CIS National Championships, which was held at home as they walked away with double gold. The women also walked away with a CIS Championship win as they walked away with their fifth straight CIS Championship win.

Recognizable players this season were Olivia Di Bacco as she won her first gold in the CIS, which is fitting as this is her last year as a Badger, and Jevon Balfour as he won gold at the CIS and continues his journey to fight for a chance to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The women’s team was also able to capture both the Junior and Senior team titles at the 2016 Wrestling Canada National Championships held in Fredericton.

Brock Curling
Perhaps another underrated team in Brock Athletics is the Brock Curling team as they have also had a successful season.

During the OUA’s the women’s team walked away with a silver win while the men walked away with a bronze win.

The Brock women’s lineup, consisting of Joanna Francolini, Terri Weeks, Samantha Morris, Lauren Calvert, Jeanette Burnside and Shelby Bailey, posted an overall record of 7-2 to take home the OUA silver medal. The women placed first in Pool play with a 6-1 record with wins over Ryerson (6-2), Lakehead (8-5), Algoma (13-3), Waterloo (7-6), Laurentian (8-2), Queen’s (5-4).

The Brock men’s roster of Eric Bradey, Jonah Mondloch, Ryan Brown, Jamie Waters, Ben Hughes and Douglas Thomson went 7-3 over the weekend and took home the OUA bronze medal. In Pool play, the Badgers posted a 5-2 record posting wins over Carleton (5-2), Ryerson (6-5), Trent (6-5), Algoma (7-4) and Lakehead (9-6).

In the quarterfinals, Brock defeated Western 4-3 and then dropped a tough semi-final decision 6-4 to the undefeated Champions Laurier. In the bronze medal match, Brock defeated Queen’s 7-3 to earn the final CIS berth.

At the CIS National Championship which was held in Kelowna, the men’s curling team was able to finish fourth in the Championship while the women finished tied for fifth overall.

Connor Allen
Assistant Sports Editor

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