The Brock men’s Lacrosse team held on for a close 12-11 victory over the Western Mustangs on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field. The win moves the Badgers to 6-0 on the season, and into sole possession of first place in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) West Division standings.
The Badgers have been dominating their opponents all season, and were coming off an impressive 22-2 victory over the McMaster Marauders. Prior to this, they had wins over Laurier (21-5), Laurentian (28-8), Guelph (16-4) and Toronto (21-2), scoring a combined total of 108 goals over five games. Western has also been scoring easily this season, with 84 goals through their first five games. The Badgers and Mustangs were both tied at the top of the division with 5-0 records heading into their matchup on Sunday.
It didn’t take long for Brock to open the scoring, with Connor Brown netting his first of the game just over three minutes into the match. The Badgers followed this up with a goal from Brandon Slade, and then another by Brown, taking a 3-0 lead less than eight minutes into the game. Western answered with a goal around the 10 minute mark of the quarter, before Kurtis Woodland scored his first of four that day, helping the Badgers to a 4-1 lead through the first quarter.
Woodland then opened the scoring in the second frame, putting the Badgers up 5-1 just under three minutes into the second period. The Badgers took an 8-3 lead into halftime thanks to goals from Slade, Brown, and Tyrus Rehanek. Western’s leading scorer Cody Ward notched his first of three on the day to cut Brock’s lead to five.
Momentum began to shift in the second half of the game, despite an early goal from Woodland to complete his hat trick and extend the lead to 9-3. Slade also scored his third of the game during the frame, but Western carried play and was rewarded with three goals. After 60 minutes of play the Badgers had a 10-6 lead, but Western’s surge had quieted the home crowd.
Western scored just 16 seconds into the fourth quarter, and they took control of the game from that point. The Mustangs scored five times in the quarter, with Reid Reinholdt scoring three in the final frame alone. However, Woodland’s fourth goal with 8:34 left in the game to make the score 12-9 was the eventual game winner, as the Mustangs could not complete the comeback. The loss was their first of the season, falling to 5-1 and now in second place behind the 6-0 Badgers.
This game was the lowest scoring of the season for the Badgers, who faced their toughest challenge yet. While they were unable to score (at the same rate that they have been all season) the Badgers played an excellent all around game to earn the victory. Badgers leading scorer Brandon Slade had 5 points, bringing his total to 44 this season, with a comfortable 16 point lead on the second place scorer in the league. Goalie Josh Wood made 12 saves on 23 shots.
When asked about what makes the team so successful this year, Wood made note of the well-rounded dynamic of the team, “We’re just a really balanced team this year, that’s one of our biggest strengths.”
Moving forward, the Badgers have their sights set on continuing their dominant performance this season and hoping it can translate to their first Baggataway Cup championship since 2009.
This game marked the halfway point of the
season for Brock, and will now play six more league games, as well as an exhibition game against Mercyhurst University. The Badgers will play their next two league games away, first going to Guelph on October 1 and then a rematch versus Western on Oct. 13. They return home for their last four games of the season, starting with a game against Laurier on Oct. 14.