Tight win over Toronto gives Badgers chance to defend their title

Photo by: Charlie Martin

The Badgers are back in the Baggataway Cup final. After a hard fought battle against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, Brock’s men’s lacrosse team have earned a chance to defend their national title.

Last year’s Brock Badgers had a dominant regular season en route to claiming the Baggataway Cup. They went 5-1 in to lead the West in the regular season, scoring the fourth most goals and allowing the fourth least in the entire Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA), winning by an average score of 13.5 to 7.5. Their season wrapped up, going 4-0 in the 2021 Baggataway Cup and dispensing of their rivals the Guelph Gryphons in the final.

Though still a strong season, the 2022 Badgers have not achieved  the same level of dominance as they did last year. After beginning the season with a massive win over Laurentian University, the Badgers followed it with a home-opening loss to Guelph. Though they would win their next three matches, they would lose the next three following that. The Badgers capped off their 2022 regular season with two more wins to finish with a 6-4 record, good for third in the CUFLA West division.

Brock’s first round playoff match against the fourth ranked University of Toronto would determine who would get to compete in the national championship in November.

The first quarter reflected both the one-win record difference between the two teams and the importance of the match.

Brock got on the board first, but Toronto would quickly score in response. Brock added another goal soon after to go up 2-1, but the lead was short lived as Toronto would even the score again minutes after.

Late in the frame Brock started to press harder. Midfield Jaden Patterson made an evasive move for a great opportunity that was stoned by Toronto’s goalie with five remaining. Mitchell Zulian got loose for another opportune look later in the possession, but once again couldn’t find the net, but would draw an interference call. The call gave Brock another opportunity, and off a rebound, Blair Pachereva would cash in on a jumping play, putting the Badgers up 3-2.

Great defence and big saves for both sides kept the score at 3-2 for the remainder of the quarter.

Toronto would look to even the score soon after, however. One minute and 30 seconds in, a long distance shot off a break knotted the score at three.

Three minutes later Brock had their response. An excellent pass found Sam Leclair in tight for a close-quarters goal that gave Brock the lead again.

Leclair’s goal would be the last one for a while thanks to both sides’ continued defensive efforts. Leclair, not content with the one-score lead, found the net again with a minute left, giving Brock a 5-3 lead at the half.

In the second half, though remaining tight, Brock started to pull ahead. A controversial offside call against Toronto set up Pachereva’s second of the night at 10:35 remaining.

Leclair capped off the hattrick and the Badger’s win with a diving goal in the fourth quarter.

With an 8-5 win, the defending champions fought back to try for another Baggataway Cup, which would be the 20th in school history.

The Badgers begin their title defence on Friday, Nov. 4 in Peterborough at Trent University. 

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