Kopper King Cup back in familiar hands

The Na-Cho Nyak Dun Development Corporation (NNDDC) regained possession of the Cup with a 3-0 win over the Spectrum Security Bears at the Takhini Broomball Arena on Saturday.

The Kopper King Cup was raised above some familiar heads following the final of the Yukon Broomball Association’s playoffs.

The Na-Cho Nyak Dun Development Corporation (NNDDC) regained possession of the Cup with a 3-0 win over the Spectrum Security Bears at the Takhini Broomball Arena on Saturday.

“It’s awesome,” said NNDDC’s Amber Saunders. “NNDDC kicked ass.”

The NNDDC team won the Cup in 2008, 2009 and 2010 under the name Coyne.

Saturday’s win caps an outstanding season for NNDDC.

The team went undefeated all year, going 25-0-2 in the regular season. They had a win percentage of .963, far up from the Bears’ .650.

NNDDC also went undefeated to win the Bob Park Ice Breaker Broomball Tournament in mid-November at the start of the season.

So what’s their secret?

“They are solid all the way through,” said Bears captain Josh Hirsch. “They have Justin Saunders and Matt Dickson, who absolutely ran away with it this year. Justin’s dad, Chris Saunders, is an anchor in the back end – you can’t get around him.”

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The team just doesn’t have any weak spots.

In addition to Chris Saunders being solid on defence, Dickson led the league in scoring during the regular season with 32 goals and 53 points.

Justin Saunders led the league in assists in 22 and was second in scoring.

In fact, the league’s top-five points leaders – Dickson, Justin Saunders, Richard Nieman, Amber Saunders and Sukhi Sidhu – are all on NNDDC.

NNDDC goalie Tim MacIntosh, who got the shutout in the final, led the league with a 0.22 goals against average.

“Everyone is fast,” said Justin Saunders of his team. “And we’ve all played for enough time to be good at it. I’ve been playing for 10 years now.”

“We grew up watching it so we’ve been at the rink since we were young,” added Amber Saunders.

NNDDC’s goals all came in the first half of the second period. The first was from Dickson, the next two Justin.

“Our goaltender (Chris Sawyer) was incredible,” said Hirsch. “It could have been a lot worse. He played excellent. He split goaltending duty because he came in at the end when our other goaltender was hurt and I think he played phenomenally.”

The Spectrum Bears, who finished the regular season in second, were the defending league champions. They won the Cup last year under the name Yukon News.

After finishing fourth in the regular season, the Ridge Pub held onto a one-goal lead to take third.

Carrying a 3-1 lead into the third period, the Ridge stayed ahead in a 3-2 win over the Ford Mustangs in the third-place game.

“Ford kind of struggled all year long, at the bottom of the standings, and they really gave us a good run for our money,” said Ridge captain Jason Murphy.

Scoring for the Ridge were Dave Locke, Jeff Teeuwsen and Murphy with the game-winner. Murphy led his team in scoring in the regular season with 17 goals and seven assists.

Finding the back of the Ridge net was Milford Allain with two.

“The tournament has been good. We lost our second game, which put us in a difficult bracket. So we ended up playing eight games in six days,” said Murphy. “Our last two games definitely tested our perseverance because we had a lot of injuries.

“But I have to give the guys and girls credit. They worked hard and we had a really good tournament.”

As for the season as a whole, “including the other teams in the league, I think it was one of the better seasons,” said Amber. “Everyone kind of developed and there was a lot of improvement throughout all the teams this year.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tompat@yukon-news.com

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