Previewing the 2016 CUFLA Baggataway Cup hosted at Brock

Brock will host the upcoming CUFLA Championships / The Brock Press

Brock men’s lacrosse is set to host the 32nd annual Baggataway Cup at Alumni Field from November 4 to 6. The lacrosse tournament is the provincial championship for CUFLA as it brings together the best six teams from its two divisions. This year, Western (11-1), Brock (11-1) and Guelph (8-4) will represent the West division while Trent (11-1), Bishop’s (7-5) and Ottawa (3-9) will represent the Eastern division.

Since 1985, Brock has hoisted the Baggataway Cup 17 times, the most compared to any other school. However, the Badgers have been shut out from the championship since 2009 when they posted a 13-0 undefeated season. They beat McMaster 12-11 in the championship game. Since Brock has gone to the championship game twice, in 2010 and 2011, but came up short both times.

McGill is the current defending championship title holder after last year’s 15-11 final against the Western Mustangs. Despite their past successes, Ottawa upset and knocked out McGill from the Baggataway Cup during their playoff game on October 29 in a stunning 11-10 underdog victory.

Brock’s head coach Justin Kennedy is confident that his team will succeed. He believes that there is a simple solution to what it takes for his team to finish the year as champions.

“We have spent many hours preparing for the weekend. If we are disciplined, execute and play as a team, we will be successful,” said Kennedy.

Brock will take on Ottawa at 5:00 p.m. in the opening quarter final game of the tournament this upcoming Friday. The winning team from this game will meet Trent in a semi-final game on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Guelph and Bishop’s will follow the opening game on Friday at 8:00 p.m. The winning team will move on to a semi-final match against Western at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The championship game will take place at 1:00 PM on Sunday.

Now let’s analyze two top teared teams who also share the biggest rivalry in CUFLA.

Brock Badgers

The Badger’s men’s lacrosse team has had a sensational season only losing one game, to the Mustangs. The team has collectively scored 157 goals in their 12 regular season games. The Badgers’ offense is led by Brandon Slade who is tied with the seventh most points in the CUFLA. With 18 goals and 32 assists, Brock will rely on Slade to find the back of the net and provide offensive firepower throughout the tournament. Part of Brock’s success is due to the depth and diversity on their roster. Brandon Staal, who played for Team Ontario U19, has scored 17 goals and is registered for 22 assists. The Badgers also have a powerful asset in the form of their veteran goaltender, Alex Guiney who recorded a 7.20 GAA in the nine games he played this season.

Western Mustangs

Another serious contender for this year’s Baggataway title, the Western Mustangs, awed spectators all year this season. Their only loss came from the Brock Badgers who defeated the Mustangs 16-13. Teams will have a very difficult time slowing down the high powered offense that the Mustangs bring to every game as the Mustangs have the two top scoring players in the CUFLA. Cody Ward is the top scoring player in the league by a large margin with an impressive 52 goals and 14 assists in 12 games. Ryan McCrory is just behind Ward with 34 goals and 24 assists. Reid Reinhaldt will be another player expected to produce as he finished his season with 21 goals and 20 assists. Lastly, the Mustangs will be able to rely on sound goalkeeping from Manraj Nijjar who has a 7.14 GAA after 11 games.

Despite Western being a significant opponent, Brock will be focused no matter who their opponent is.

“With the one and done style of tournament, we cannot take anyone lightly. We must play to the best of our potential in all of our games. We will take it one quarter at a time and play our game no matter who the competition.” said Kennedy.

The CUFLA Championships are set to begin on November 4, and will run all the way until Nov. 6. Stay tuned to gobadgers.ca for game times.

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