Sports

Brock renews rivalry in men’s hockey playoffs

By Rod Mawhood, Special to The Standard

Brock Badgers goaltender Clint Windsor, left, and his Guelph Gryphons counterpart, Scott Stacjer, pass each other in a pre-game skate in men’s university hockey. (Supplied photo)

Brock Badgers goaltender Clint Windsor, left, and his Guelph Gryphons counterpart, Scott Stacjer, pass each other in a pre-game skate in men’s university hockey. (Supplied photo)

The Brock Badgers men’s hockey team is playing a familiar foe in the opening round of the OUA West Division playoffs.

The fifth-seeded (14-13-1) Badgers begin their quest in the 106th edition of the Queen’s Cup playoffs against the fourth-ranked (15-12-1) Guelph Gryphons beginning Thursday night in Guelph.

“Our matchups against Guelph are always exciting,” said Brock bench boss Murray Nystrom.

“The Gryphons are our primary geographical rival, and all our games are played with that as a backdrop.”

The Badgers were 1-1 against the Gryphons during the regular season and enter tonight’s game on a modest two-game win streak, while Guelph has lost three in a row being outscored 22-9 over that stretch.

Brock goaltenders have been busy all season facing 984 more shots than any of their cross-league counterparts, so defence and discipline will be huge for the Badgers in this series.

“Guelph plays a pressure game and they do a nice job of using their larger home ice surface to their advantage,” Nystrom said.

“I like how we match up with them.”

Brock is relatively healthy going into the series, as Nystrom was also quick to praise goaltending coach Luc Lobsinger for his work with starter Clint Windsor and backups Alex Brooks-Potts and Adam Beukeboom this season.

Windsor finished the regular season with a league best .945 save percentage and a 10-1 record in 12 games played.

Seth Swenson was the Gryphons top scorer with 32 points in 28 games, while former pro, and team captain, Andrew Radjenovic had 31 points in 25 games for the Badgers.

The Gryphons are the defending Queen’s Cup champions and have advanced to the OUA West Division finals the past two seasons.

Game 2 in the best of three series goes Friday back in St. Catharines. Puck drop at the Seymour-Hannah Centre is 7:15 p.m.

Game 3, if necessary, is Sunday night in Guelph.