The Brock Badgers Men’s hockey team has opened their 2017 season in style with an away double header sweep of the Lakehead Thunderwolves this past weekend. Before their final game of the 2016 season, the Badgers were on a season high six game losing streak and desperately needed a shift in momentum before the holidays began. With perseverance, the Badgers showed that they are a truly resilient group of individuals when they took on the now fifth placed Carleton Ravens in the OUA Eastern division. In the extremely low scoring game, the Badgers were able to match their opponents and keep the game scoreless for the first 65 minutes of play sending the game into double overtime. Only 32 seconds into the second OT, Brock captain, Andrew Radjenovic and Dexter Weber setup Matt MacLeod who played the hero and scored the game winner for his sixth goal of the season. The Badgers’ were also pleased to see their starting goaltender, rookie Alex Brooks-Potts, record his first OUA win and shutout making 39 saves to give the Badgers the opportunity to take the win.
Not only were the Badgers feeding off of the momentum gained from their final victory in 2016 when they returned to OUA action in Thunder Bay but Clint Windsor also returned for his first appearance since an injury which occurred on November 4. The game didn’t get off to an ideal start for the Badgers when the Thunderwolves opened up the scoring at 7:48 in the first period. Bouncing back quickly, Chris Maniccia and Skylar Pacheco assisted rookie Brandon Pears who collected his third goal of the season at the 10 minute mark. The Badgers would score another goal only 32 seconds later. Pears found himself on the scoresheet once again when he and Dallas Rossiter setup Adam Lloyd who got one past Lakehead goaltender, Devin Green, for his ninth goal of the season. Despite the high pressure put on by the Badgers, the Thunderwolves responded with a goal of their own 12 seconds later to even up the game at 2-2 with a goal from Sam Schutt. The first period would continue to see an outpouring of offense when the Badgers got a go-ahead goal at 13:30. Lloyd burried his second of the night off of assistance from Maniccia and Evan Morden. As the clock was ticking down with 29 seconds remaining to end the opening period another passing play between Greg Jambrosich and Mack Lemmon delivered the puck to Ryan Purvis who scored to end off the period with a 4-2 Brock lead. For the remainder of the game, goals came at a premium as the Badgers would close out scoring on an open netter from Brody Silk who scored with 1:45 to ensure a 5-2 victory for the Badgers. Windsor delivered a standout performance in net for the Badgers turning away 42 shots. In eight games this season, Windsor has a 2.09 goals against average with a .953 save percent. Finally, the Badgers’ head coach Murray Nystrom recorded his 200th career conference victory in his hometown of Thunder Bay. This is Nystrom’s 17th season as Brock’s
The northern trip continued as the Badgers took on the Thunderwolves in a second game on Saturday. Again, the Badgers struggled early allowing the Thunderwolves to open scoring just a minute into the first period. Linden Springer beat starting goaltender Clint Windsor and the Thunderwolves held their 1-0 lead for the opening 20 minutes of play. The Badgers managed to tie the game 4:35 into the second period with a goal from Sammy Banga who received assists from Josh Timpano and MacLeod. Banga wasn’t finished as he added his second goal of the night with only 13 seconds remaining in the period, scoring his ninth of the season. Brock added insurance to their lead quickly as MacLeod and Evan Morden setup Timpano for his fourth goal of the season giving the Badgers a 3-1 lead in the opening minutes of the third period. Later in the period, the Thunderwolves attempted to add the extra attacker and pulled their goalie for the second night in the row. However, this time the extra attacker proved successful as Zach Whitlock cut the Badger lead to one with 41 seconds remaining in regulation. With the potential for a game tying goal, Thunderwolves coaching staff decided to keep the extra attacker on and hoped for a goal to put the game into overtime. Silk would ensure this didn’t happen by potting an empty net goal putting the game well out of reach for the Thunderwolves at 4-2. This win advanced the Badgers to fifth place in the OUA Western division with a 10-8-1 record and put the team on a three game winning streak.
The Badgers have two key upcoming OUA Western division games which will both be played on the road. First, the Badgers will meet the Ryerson Rams in Toronto on January 12. This will be a competitive matchup for the Badgers as the Rams are ranked second place in the west with a 13-4-1 record. The Badger defence will need to take away opportunities from the Rams’ offense which has scored the fifth most goals in the league. Then on January 14 the Badgers take on the second to last place Western Mustangs (6-10-2) in London. Ontario.