The Brock Badgers men’s lacrosse team entered play last weekend with a 5-1 record that had them sitting in second place in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) West Division standings. This represented the midway point in the season for the Badgers, with four games remaining on the schedule. Their first focus this past weekend was set on a home game against the University of Toronto. What waited for them following their matchup with the Varsity Blues was a road test against the undefeated Western Mustangs in a marquee matchup.
Back on Sept. 28, the Badgers disposed of U of T by a score of 20-9. More of the same happened once again when the teams met on the Alumni Field at Brock, as the Badgers cruised once again to an eleven goal victory, 15-4.
While the Badgers managed to pick up a convincing victory, Head Coach Tim Luey thought the Badgers had more to show.
“Offensively, we should’ve scored a lot more goals, we made the goalie look good,” Luey said.
Of the chances that were converted, it was the usual suspects that came through once again for the Badgers. Kurtis Woodland and Connor Ham each fired home four goals in the game, proving that it’s no fluke that you’ll find their names at the top of the team’s goal-scoring leaders. Woodland’s 26 goals have him ranked third in the CUFLA, while Ham has a more than respectable 17 goals of his own this season.
When evaluating his team performance against Toronto as a whole, Luey was satisfied and had noticed some improvement overall.
“I think we played pretty well. We worked hard and did a good job on loose balls and things like that,” said Luey. “We did a much better job on our man down, the last time we played these guys they scored eight power-play goals on us, so we wanted to do a better job there.”
“I think we’re getting better every week defensively and offensively. I think we’ve been making a lot of progress these last few weeks.”
There was no better test for that progress than a meeting with the West Division-leading Western Mustangs on Sunday night.
Last season, the Mustangs broke the hearts of the Badgers with an overtime win in the Baggataway Cup championship game. Earlier this season, the Mustangs picked up an 8-7 overtime win once again over the Badgers. The Mustangs have quite simply been the Badgers kryptonite. Luey spoke on the stakes prior to the game against Western.
“I think your next game is always the biggest game of the season. Even if we win though we still have a huge game next weekend against Guelph and we only beat them by a goal. But yeah, it’s a huge game,” Luey said.
This time around, the Badgers were finally able to get over the hump. But it was another tightly contested match that required overtime — the third time in a row the two rivals have required extra time to decide a game.
It’s incredible how close the games are between these teams; in a game that had a final score of 10-9, no team led by more than a goal at any time with the exception of Brock’s early 2-0 advantage. It was back and forth from there, as the Badgers had to withstand a four-goal performance from Nikolai Farrus. Woodland had three goals in the game and Jordan Gillis’ second goal stood as the game winner.
With the 2-0 weekend, Brock improved their record to 7-1 with just four games left on their regular season schedule. They remain in the shadow of Western, but just barely, as the Mustangs maintain a solid, yet no longer perfect, 8-1 record. While this was the last time these two teams will meet in the regular season it feels like it would not be a shock to see them square off again when the games are even more meaningful.
Brock closes out their season this week as they play on Oct. 24 at McMaster beginning at 8:30 p.m., and then finish the season at home versus Guelph on Oct. 27, at 1:00 p.m.