Photo by: Brenden Cowan
Brock’s men’s hockey team kicked off 2023 with two straight games at home: Friday, Jan. 6 against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks and Saturday, Jan. 7 against Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold.
After picking up three-straight wins to end 2022, Brock would be looking to maintain their momentum with two more. While the Golden Hawks are a middle of the pack team, TMU is one of the two teams that the Badgers are battling with for top spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West Division, along with Windsor.
In keeping with the theme of the New Year, Brock sent out Roman Basran for his first start of the season. A first-year social sciences student, Basran previously played for the Mississauga Steelheads in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
The lead did not hold for long.
Laurier’s team leader in goals Grayden Gottschalk potted the tying goal barely over two minutes later, then added the Golden Hawks’ go-ahead goal early in the second.
Brock responded almost immediately.
This time it would be Brock’s leading goal scorer Tyler Burnie doing the damage, burying his tenth of the season. Justin Brack put the Badgers up with a powerplay goal ten minutes later. The assists came from Cole Thiessen and Jacob Roach, both of whom are top ten in the OUA in this category.
Laurier tied the game at three shortly thereafter, but that is as far as they would get.
Basran earned his first win of the season, stopping 29 shots en route.
Without much time to rest, the Badgers got right back to work at Canada Games Park the following afternoon against TMU. TMU was likely to be one of the Badgers’ toughest matches.
Across the board, TMU is pretty well the best team in the OUA West and the second best team in the OUA overall after The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. They are second in the OUA in points, second in goals for, second fewest goals against, second best goal differential. They even have the second most penalty minutes.
However, it was not as if Brock was outmatched. Brock was within one point of TMU in the standings, had a better record over the last ten games, and are actually tied with TMU for second most goals scored in the OUA.
Saturday’s game was primed to be a fun match.
Jacob Roach’s seventh goal of the season came off a wraparound three minutes in, getting Brock’s offence started early. Goalie Mario Peccia held onto that 1-0 score with some excellent goaltending, before eventually conceding the tying goal at the second period’s midway mark. Captain Jared Marino would put the Badgers up again with a goal off a Roach feed. With that assist, Roach moved to fifth in the OUA in scoring with 22 points in 17 games.
Roach was not, however, the biggest offensive dynamo in this competition. That distinction would belong to TMU’s Kyle Bollers, the OUA’s leader in assists and points. Though absent on TMU’s first goal, Bollers would collect his first primary assist of the night to tie the game at three.
Less than 15 seconds later Cole Tymkin put one by TMU, and Tyler Burnie’s assist on the marker moved him into the OUA’s top ten in points per game.
Unfortunately, with 20 minutes still to play, this is where Brock’s offence sputtered to a halt.
Bollers, evidently just getting started in the second period, added two more assists as the Bold dominated the Badgers with three third period goals. Bollers’ three points on the night powered TMU to a 5-3 victory, but also gave him 30 points in 18 games for an OUA leading 1.67 points per game.
The Badgers next play in an away back-to-back against the Windsor Lancers on Jan. 12 and 13. Two points ahead of Brock with no games in hand, these two matches are huge for Brock’s placement down the road.
The team’s full schedule and results can be found on their gobadgers.ca page.