Brock U hockey team from St. Catharines earns University Cup spot, will host OUA final


Published March 23, 2022 at 8:23 pm

The Brock Badgers celebrate a goal by Jacob Roach, centre, during the Ontario University Athletics men's hockey West division final in Toronto on Wednesday, March 23. (OUA TV)

Led by their local mainstays, the Brock Badgers have earned a berth in the Canadian university men’s hockey championship — and home ice for the Ontario final.

Brooklin native Jacob Roach scored two goals, and captain Jared Marino, who hails from Niagara Falls, scored the game’s first goal and had a primary assist to steer the Badgers to an 5-2 win against the host Rams in down Toronto on Wednesday night (March 23). In front of a crowd that included supporters from St. Catharines who rode up the QEW on a fan bus, the Badgers never trailed, going ahead for good on a power-play goal just before the end of the second period at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Early in the final frame, Roach redirected a saucer pass from wing Owen Guy through the five-hole of Rams goalie Garrett Forrest. Badgers goalie Mario Puccia and his teammates took it from there.

The win gives Brock a spot in the eight-team University Cup, which will be held in Wolfville, N.S., from March 31-April 3. As the OUA West champion, the Badgers will also host the Queen’s Cup final against the Trois-Rivières Patriotes at the Seymour-Hannah Centre at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Trois-Rivières edged the McGill Redbirds 1-0 in the OUA East final on Wednesday night. Conference rules state that a Quebec-based team cannot host the championship game.

Hosting the final adds to Brock’s own version of March Madness, with a chance for five teams to win OUA titles. The women’s basketball Badgers are hosting the Critielli Cup against the Toronto-based Rams on Saturday. The women’s hockey and women’s volleyball Badgers respectively won the McCaw Cup and Quigley Cup last weekend.

In men’s basketball, Brock will host Queen’s in the OUA Wilson Cup on Saturday night.

On the ice on Wednesday, Marino opened the scoring in the first period by finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play. Brampton native Elijah Roberts, who played for the Niagara IceDogs for three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, equalized for Ryerson.

Roach got his first of the night by tipping in Marino’s pass midway through the second period while by checked by Ryerson wing Jesse Barwell. After Ryerson re-tied the score, defenceman Zack Taylor scored the game-winner with just over a minute left in the period, when his pass toward the goalmouth ricocheted into the net off of Ryerson rookie defenceman Ryan Wells.

Brock’s other University Cup appearances were in 2008 and ’18. They lost the Queen’s Cup against McGill both times.

Meantime, the women’s hockey Badgers are seeded No. 4 at the national tournament that begins in Charlottetown, P.E.I., on Thursday. Brock faces the No. 5 Saskatchewan Huskies at 3 p.m. on Friday, with coverage on CBC Gem and

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising