After a 14-7 win over the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday, the Brock Badgers men’s lacrosse team found themselves tied for first in the CUFLA west division at the end of the season.
Brock fell into a familiar pattern when defender, Latrell Harris opened scoring in the first minutes of play. Guelph was quick to answer back though adding a goal of their own to the already quick paced matchup. The Badgers would take a 2-1 lead into the second.
Guelph came back with two goals in the beginning of the second to take a 3-2 lead. Brock rallied to reclaim the lead with Harris, Cree Blakely and Kurtis Woodland scoring one after the other. Guelph found the back of the net just once more in the second. The score was 5-4 Brock going into the second half of the game.
Once again, a familiar pattern emerged as Brock pulled further ahead of Guelph in the third. The Badgers allowed only a single goal while scoring four times. Grayson Houghton, Tyrus Rehanek and Saul van der Zalm scored their first goals of the game. Blakely scored his second with five minutes to go.
The Badgers had a comfortable lead heading into the fourth. The first five minutes were a defensive battle as Guelph tried to contain the Badgers. Their efforts were fruitless as Woodland scored his second and third goals. The Badgers allowed two goals from Guelph which ultimately would not matter as Connor Aquanno scored twice ten minutes and Woodland scored his fourth goal of the game.
Goaltender, Josh Wood, played all four quarters, facing 16 shots. Brock lead the game in shots, with 24.
The win solidifies the Badgers as a contender for the Baggataway Cup, if they weren’t already. The Badgers finish the 2018 season with a 9-1 record. They are tied for first in the west division with the Western Mustangs.
It was Western — back-to-back champions — who robbed Brock of the championship title last year, scoring in overtime to win the Baggataway cup. The teams met twice in the regular season and this is where the rivalry renewed once again. Western came out on top in their first meeting, early in September, winning 8-7 over the Badgers. The Badgers got their revenge in October when the teams met again, winning 10-9 in overtime.
Both teams are offensively gifted, high scoring, fast paced, and evenly matched. It would come as no surprise if Western or Brock win the championship, but they are not the only teams in contention.
As the host school, Toronto is automatically granted a spot in the playoffs, who went 4-6 this season. They were never outright bad, but they never had the spark that contending teams always seem to have. They struggled against other playoff teams, particularly against Brock and Western, never pulling out a win against either.
McGill and Trent are both contenders from the East. Trent pulled ahead to lead the East after beating McGill in their last game of the season. Trent also has a great deal of offensive talent, with their captain Cole McWilliams leading the way as the fourth leading scoring in the East. Both Trent and McGill finished the season 9-1
Guelph cannot be counted out of contention either. The Gryphons went 6-4, they were never outstanding but they were never out of games either. They might just be able to step up in the postseason and cause an upset.
Western, Guelph and McGill have all won championships in the past 5 years, while Brock has not won the Baggataway Cup since 2009. Trent made an appearance in the 2016 championship game but have yet to pull out the win to claim the cup.
The Badgers begin their quest for the Baggataway Cup on Nov. 3 when they host Guelph at 1:00 p.m.