Brock Men’s Hockey clinches playoff spot with win over Nippissing

Brock clinched a playoff spot this past weekend / Rounaq Chabra

At the start of this weekend, Brock was right on the edge of clinching a playoff spot after a long, up and down battle that has lasted the majority of the season. In order to secure their position, they needed a win over the Nippissing Lakers and a Western Mustangs’ loss. Luckily for the Badgers, their opponent sat near the bottom of the division, while the Mustangs’ opponent, the Concordia Stingers, were right behind McGill for the top spot in the OUA East.

With Clint Windsor still on the sidelines with an injury, Brock goaltender Alex Brooks-Potts got the start in net. It was the rookie’s biggest game of the season, a much needed win, and the Badgers were hoping that Brooks-Potts could step up and defend the net like Windsor has done for the majority of the season.

Jeff Corbett got the Badgers on the board first, netting his first goal of the season at a very crucial time. The goal was set up by Andrew Coupland and Josh Timpano. After 20 minutes, Brooks-Potts remained solid in net as the Badgers took a slim 1-0 lead into the break. After a Lakers’ penalty put the Badgers on the powerplay, Matt MacLeod would extend the lead to two, with Sammy Banga and Adam Lloyd getting the assists. The Badgers would extend their strong second period, getting two more goal from Chris Maniccia and MacLeod again.

The offense was on fire in a very important game, but it was Brooks-Potts in net who was the most impressive. His 34 save shutout sealed the Badgers 5-0 win as he put his team in a position to secure their playoff spot with a Concordia victory. The Stingers offense didn’t do the Mustangs any favours, as they took the 7-4 victory officially giving Brock a chance at an OUA Championship.

Facing off against the Laurentian Voyageurs on Saturday and looking to move closer to a home ice advantage spot for the playoffs, the Badgers were not as fortunate as the night before. Laurentian, who currently hold the last playoff spot in the OUA East, looked like a playoff team as they netted six goals and defeated Brock by a score of 6-3. After the loss on Saturday, the Badgers currently sit in sixth place in the OUA West. With just two games remaining, it’s time to take a look at how the OUA playoffs could pan out.

If the season ended today, the Badgers would take on the Laurier Golden Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, with two of the three games being played at Laurier. So far this season the Badgers are 1-1 against Laurier, picking up an 8-4 victory and then losing the second contest by a score of 4-1. That being said, the Badgers play the two worst teams in the OUA in the Toronto Varsity Blues and Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in their final two games, so they could easily pass the Windsor Lancers and finish with the fourth seed. With just those two games remaining, they cannot pass the Guelph Gryphons for the fourth spot, so they would likely take on the Gryphons (on the road twice) in the first round of the playoffs if they can take that fourth spot. Against Guelph this year Brock is  also 1-1, with both games being played near the beginning of the OUA season.

With all the playoff teams set, the Badgers could make a serious run at the OUA Championship, especially if they get a healthy Windsor back in time for their first series. Out of the five teams ahead of them in the standings, Brock has only lost both matchups in their season series to two of the team – the Lancers and the top seeded Ryerson Rams. The Badgers have been a very streaky team all season, and if they can get on one of their winning streaks in time for the playoffs, they could be a very dangerous team to play.

 

The Badgers get set to finish off their season next weekend, as they’ll take on the University of Toronto on February 10 at 7:15 p.m. Their game will be at home at the Seymour-Hannah Centre.

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