The Badgers ended their regular season on a bit of a sour note, losing their final game 5-1 to McMaster this past Sunday. The loss capped off an otherwise successful season, one that saw the Badgers defeat two nationally ranked programs (No. 8 McMaster and No. 9 Guelph). The Badgers finished fourth in the OUA West with a 6-5-3 record and will host the Western Mustangs in the first round of the OUA playoffs.
Like the women’s program, the men’s team will look to win their first playoff game in over a decade. This is also the first time Brock has hosted a playoff game in over a decade; the thought of playing a postseason game in front of an energetic Badger crowd was one that the team was motivated by.
“That was our strategy, to get these guys to really understand that we could host a game here,” said head coach Lucio Ianiero. “It’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere here, which we haven’t had in a long time.”
All season long, the Badgers have leaned on the offensive firepower of striker Jared Agyemang, whose 13 goals tied for the most in the OUA. Ianiero will look to continue to play through his best player in the playoffs.
“He’s a force to be reckoned with,” said Ianiero. “He’s just a raw specimen with some unbelievable speed. His striking ability is phenomenal.”
The Badgers dropped their lone regular season matchup against Western 1-0, but have yet to play the Mustangs on home turf.
The game is set to be played tomorrow after the conclusion of the women’s game; kickoff time is set for 8:15 p.m. on Alumni Field.
After taking over the head coaching position in an interim role midway through September, Lucio Ianiero has led the Badgers to their second straight playoff berth, after finishing the regular season with a 7-3-4 record, good enough for fourth in the OUA West.
The Badgers ended their season on a three-game win streak, and have not lost nor allowed a goal since their 2-1 loss at the hands of the nationally-ranked York Lions on October 5.
Heading into the final day of the regular season, the Badgers knew their first-round playoff matchup would be against McMaster, however, where the game would be played was still to be determined. The Badgers and Marauders played once more this past Sunday, with the winner receiving home-field advantage for their playoff matchup.
The Badgers were able to pull out the 1-0 win, with Erica D’Alesio scoring the game winning goal. Marilena Spagnolo stopped all five shots to record her fourth straight shutout, giving her nine on the season. Spagnolo finished the year tied for the most saves in the OUA (97), second in save percentage (.933), had the fourth-lowest GAA (0.55) and finished second in shutouts. Safe to say a third straight OUA All-Star appearance is coming her way shortly.
The Badgers only gave up seven goals all season long, the third least in the OUA.
“I think our D-line has been doing a tremendous job as well,” said Ianiero. “When [Spagnolo] is needed, does she bail us out? Absolutely, 99 percent of the time, for sure, and that just allows our defence to play with tons of confidence. Our backline knows if they need bailing out she’ll be there for them.”
Should (4) Brock defeat (5) McMaster in their first-round matchup, they will travel to London to take on the number-one seeded Mustangs on Sunday, assuming that (3) York defeats (6) Waterloo. If the Warriors manage to upset the Lions, then Brock will face (2) Guelph on the road.
The task at hand remains defeating McMaster and the Badgers will look to win their first playoff game in over a decade. The game will take place at Alumni Field tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m.