The Brock Badgers men’s hockey finished the regular season with a 4-1 win over the Western Mustangs.
It was the Mustangs who knocked the Badgers out of the playoffs in the second round a season ago with a 7-1 loss.
Both teams had already clinched a playoff spot, but that did not take away the importance of the game. The Mustangs, who finished the season in the eighth and final seed, were looking for the win that would have propelled them into seventh place, avoiding the first place OUA West team, the Toronto Varsity Blues, in the first round. The Badgers were looking to finish the season going into the playoffs with a recent win under their belts.
As is often the case with the Badgers, it took a little bit of physicality to really get going. Jordan Maletta took a penalty for roughing after the whistle which the Badgers successfully killed. The Badgers built off of that momentum and Skylar Pacheco was able to score on the power play, just 12 seconds after Alex Turko of the Mustangs headed to the box for tripping.
Mitchell Mendonca put the Badgers up 2-1 at 3:31 in the second period. Alex Turko redeemed himself for the Mustangs with what would end up being their only goal of the game. Two more goals for the Badgers from Jared Marino at 17:36 and Christian Girhiny at 19:50 sealed the win.
The Badgers honoured their graduating seniors prior to the game: defencemen Skylar Pacheco, Dexter Weber and Ethan Spaxman and forward Cosimo Fontana.
Now that all 28 games of the OUA season have been played, the playoff picture is officially set. The Carleton Ravens clinched the top spot in the OUA with 49 points and a 24-4 record. They have the regular season title but will have to make it through a first round series against the eighth seeded OUA East RMC Paladins to begin their playoff journey.
In the Western Conference, the Toronto Varsity Blues locked up the top spot with 44 points and a 21-7 record.
As for Brock, they finished in the middle of the standings with 30 points and a 14-14 record. As the fifth place team, they’ll be playing the fourth place Windsor Lancers (15-13) in the first round of the playoffs. The Lancers will have home ice advantage in the best of three series which will conclude by February 16.
The Badgers and the Lancers have played one another twice in the regular season. The Lancers spoiled the Badgers’ home opener on October 4 by winning the game 6-3. Their second game was on Jan. 25, where the Lancers completed the regular season series sweep in a 2-1 win.
The Badgers will look to their entire team to pull together to get past the first round. They’re a committee team, a team with depth all the way down the lineup. Every single skater who has played with for the Badgers with regularity has put up points for them.