The Brock Badgers men’s hockey team opened up homecoming weekend with a 3-1 win over the Guelph Gryphons in the 20th Steel Blade Classic.
The Badgers took an early lead on the first shift of the game with a goal from Connor Brown. They wouldn’t score their second until late in the third period, and everything in between showed two teams in the very early stages of their season.
“It was kind of a scrappy game there for a little while, not a lot of flow to it,” said Brock head coach Marty Williamson.
Brock netted their third goal with under a minute to go in the game after Guelph pulled goaltender Andrew Masters with the hopes of tying the game at two.
While the game certainly wasn’t as eventful as past Steel Blade Classics — no fights or suspensions, and very few goals. Both teams saw chances offensively but the low scoring showed the strength of the two opposing goalies.
Williamson was pleased with the play of his veterans, as well as the new Badgers, who started their Brock careers off in front of a record 5,000 fans at the Meridian Centre.
“I thought the leadership was great, the positive talk on the bench and all that,” said Williamson, “It’s only our third game, with 14 new guys, these are difficult games to play in but it’s about growing together and the experiences and that’s what we got tonight.”
“I thought the [new players] all played well, the goaltending was outstanding,” said Williamson.
Logan Thompson was released from the Washington Capitals training camp, meaning the Badgers got back one of, if not their biggest, recruit from the offseason. Thompson let in just one goal. Rookie Mario Cavaillere also saw playing time as he went in for Thompson halfway through the game. Combined, the Badger goalies made 23 saves on the night.
“I liked them all. It’s about a continued growing process for us and making sure the chemistry is good. You don’t want to peak too early or too late, so it’s just a step in our path,” said Williamson.
While it was a low scoring game, the Badgers certainly had plenty of opportunities throughout the game, including multiple power plays that they couldn’t capitalize on.
“We’ve got to practice [our power play], we’re bouncing guys all around because we haven’t had time to practice it very much and we’ve got to improve on it,” said Williamson. “We have a good two weeks here of practice, we want to get our power play clicking and figure out the units we want to play. The personnel is really important and just continuing to grow.”
The Badgers will play two exhibition games against NCAA division one programs (Robert Morris University and Penn State University) on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 in Pennsylvania. They will open their OUA regular season schedule at home on Oct. 12 when they host the York Lions at the Seymour-Hannah Centre.