Yukon Brewing has a knack for making the final of the Bob Park Ice Breaker Broomball Tournament. Winning it, not so much.
The Nacho Nyak Dun Development Corporation team defeated Yukon Brewing (formerly Roadhouse) 2-1 in the final at Takhini Arena on Sunday.
It was the sixth consecutive time the Yukon Brewing squad reached the final, last winning it in 2009.
“I knew these guys were going to be smart and we expected a tight game,” said Nacho captain Chris Saunders. “They are the smartest team in the league with a lot of good players. We were lucky to have a good, big bench this year. It was our saving grace.
“We picked up a whole new line and everybody showed up … That was the benefit of having some extra legs out there: everyone was still feeling good. Our girls were a little short – we had a couple girls get injured … One of our girls got sick, Leah Mcleod, so we dragged her out of deathbed this morning, put her out there to fill in a few shifts.”
Last year in the final Nachos also beat Yukon Brewing 2-1 in a come-from-behind performance. This year was as dramatic, with the Nachos taking it in overtime.
Two minutes into overtime, which is played with empty nets at both ends, Nachos sharpshooter Justin Saunders brought the ball into the Brewing’s end and had his shot at the open net stopped with a diving block by Brewing’s Violeta Azizaj.
Brewing failed to get the ball out and Justin got a second chance. You do not want to give Justin – one of the league’s top scorers – too many chances. He buried it for the win.
“She’s hard. I don’t get around her very often, so I thought, ‘I’ll just shoot,’” said Justin of Azizaj. “She stopped it so the second time I thought, ‘I can’t just shoot.’
“I try to care less and less every year, but it’s hard,” he added. “I focus on the fun aspect. It’s nice to win, of course, but we’re all here to have fun.”
Justin also scored the winning overtime goal against the then Roadhouse team in the 2010 final of the Bob Park tourney.
“It’s always Justin,” said Yukon Brewing goalie Aedan Greer. “These guys are a tough team. Other than our team, they have the hardest shots and they’re fast. We were tired, but they were tired too.
“We contained them pretty well. We spent most of the time in their end, it seemed to me, being the goalie.
“It was the most exciting game I had, the most pressure I had.”
Following a scoreless first period, the Nachos captain put his team up, finding the far, top corner on a backhander with 6:22 left.
Yukon Brewing forced the overtime as Caleb Dawe knocked in a rebound from the side of the Nachos net, assisted by Mike Wintemute and Melanie Lachapelle, with 1:28 left in regulation.
The Nachos arrived in the final with another overtime win in the semifinal. John Tom Tom got the game winner to give his team a 1-0 win.
The tournament win marked a triumphant return for Nachos goalie Tim Laboucan, who missed the last two seasons.
“Seven games and he only let three goals against,” said Chris. “Justin did marvelous, Tim was great, Amy (Kolfer) got her first goal – she’s been playing for a few years.”
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