For the second straight year, the Brock Badgers lost in overtime to the Western Mustangs in the Baggataway Cup Finals. After losing 16-14 in the 2017 finals, the Badgers once again lost a close one in OT, this time by a score of 9-8.
Heading into this weekend, the Badgers dismantled the Nipissing Lakers 18-4 in the quarterfinals, with Connor Brown, Campbell Parker, and Grayson Houghton each recording four points. The semifinal game on Saturday saw Brock escape with a 12-11 victory over the Trent Excalibur in overtime, with Kurtis Woodland scoring five goals to lead the Badgers.
During the regular season, Brock, Western, Trent and McGill all finished with 9-1 records, and continued their dominance into the playoffs, with those four powerhouses meeting up in the semis. Western topped McGill in the other side of the bracket 10-6, setting up a finals rematch against the Badgers.
In the two regular season games between the two rivals, each team won their road game by a goal; with Brock winning 10-9 in London, and Western winning 8-7 in St. Catharines. The games were intense and foreshadowed what was a competitive and entertaining final.
Brock led 4-2 heading into halftime, with Connor Ham scoring a hat trick in the first half. The Mustangs responded, outscoring Brock 3-2 in both the third and fourth quarters, setting up an 8-8 tie heading into overtime. Brock held an 8-6 lead in the fourth, before the Mustangs three unanswered goals sealed the Badgers fate.
Tristan Simeoni scored the lone goal in overtime to clinch the title for the Mustangs, winning a third straight Baggataway Cup for the first time in school history. This was the first time a team has three-peated since Brock won six in a row from 2003-2007. This marks the sixth CUFLA championship for the Mustangs, good for the second most in CUFLA history (Brock is well ahead with 18 CUFLA titles).
In addition to Ham’s three goals, Campbell, Brown, Tyrus Rehanek and Kurtis Woodland all found the back of the net for the Badgers. Rowan Kelly scored a hat trick of his own for Western, along with a pair of goals each from Simeoni and Cody Ward. Jonathan Tokiwa and Cole Davis added a goal each as well.
While a second straight finals loss is definitely disappointing, the Badgers lacrosse program has gotten back to the elite level standard that Brock has set over the past three decades. Up until last season, the Badgers hadn’t made the finals since 2011. Head coach Tim Luey, who was hired in the summer of 2017, has clearly made a significant impact on the program.
In Luey’s two seasons as head coach, he has led Brock to an incredible 21-1 regular season record (the only loss being the aforementioned Western game) with back-to-back finals appearances. While the final result haven’t been in Brock’s favour, it is safe to say that Luey has revived the Brock program back to contender status.