Goals aren’t often scored by players lying on their belly, but one was on Sunday and it changed the course of a game.
Nacho Nyak Dun Development Corporation’s team rallied from a goal down to beat Roadhouse in the final of the Bob Park Ice Breaker Broomball Tournament at Takhini Arena.
Nacho’s Matt Dickson scored the game-winner from the prone position next to the Roadhouse net, stretching to lift the ball over the glove of Don Rogers, to give his team a 2-1 win.
“We had a short bench and luckily enough of the young kids pulled it out again,” said Nacho captain Chris Saunders. “It’s nice to have 25-year-olds on the team.”
The Nacho squad won the season-opening tournament in 2010 under the name Coyne, defeating Roadhouse in the final.
Sunday was the Roadhouse’s fifth straight year in the final, last winning it in 2009.
“This team usually gets our number in the end and it’s usually this kind of last-minute flurry,” said Roadhouse captain Drew Wintemute. “It’s hard against them because when they put everyone out there they can be dominating for sure.”
All three goals came in the final four minutes of regulation time, with Roadhouse drawing first blood.
Wintemute scored on a long shot through traffic to give Roadhouse a 1-0 lead with 3:59 left in the second of the two-period game.
Nacho responded 43 seconds later with a backhanded shot from Justin Saunders. Justin was Yukon league’s top-scorer last season.
Dickson then got his belly-goal with 1:44 left in regulation. He almost put in an empty-netter from mid-ice, missing by inches in the final minute.
Roadhouse was the dominant team in the first period, with more scoring opportunities and twice as many shots. The Nacho team showed a lot more life in the second period.
“Matt came in and gave a little pep talk and said, ‘If you’re tired and don’t want to play, get off because there’s lots of guys who want to play,’” said Chris. “So Justin and Matty started the period off with long shifts and had lots of chances but didn’t get opportunities to score a goal.”
“We definitely had more chances, we just couldn’t score,” said Wintemute of the first period. “I think we outplayed them and I think we had more scoring chances, but we missed some open nets. And you don’t want to do that.”
Nacho’s only loss in the tournament was 5-0 to Roadhouse in the round-robin.
“A couple of our guys didn’t make it out so we had a short bench – a much shorter bench,” said Chris. “(Roadhouse) was playing well and got lots of shots on net and a lot went in.”
Roadhouse arrived in the final with a semifinal win over defending champs, the Spectrum Security Bears, who also won the league championships last season.
Nachos squeaked into the final with a 1-0 win over Ridge Pub, with Justin scoring in the final minute.
The Nacho team has been a powerhouse in the Yukon Broomball Association’s league in recent years. They won the league championship three times in a row under the name Coyne from 2008 to 2010 and again in 2012 as Nacho Nyak Dun Development Corporation.
Last season they didn’t even enter the league playoffs.
“A couple of our guys were working outside of town a lot and we just didn’t manage to pick up any new players,” said Chris. “We ended up folding the team in the last round of the season because we didn’t recruit enough players.”
The Yukon Broomball Association is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and has lots in store for this season and next.
The YBA intends to send a mixed team to the 2014 Senior & Mixed Nationals this April in Calgary for the first time. The sport’s governing body in the territory is working towards sending a mixed team to the 2014 World Broomball Championships next year in Japan.
The Saunders went to the worlds on Team Yukon in 2010.
“Justin is interested. I’m getting a little long in the tooth but some still think I can get a couple more years out of this warrantee,” said Chris.
The Bob Park tourney, which had eight teams compete this year, featured an alumni game on Saturday night to celebrate the association’s 30th anniversary.
Included in the game was original player and former Yukon MP Larry Bagnell.
“We had an alumni game last night with some of the old-timers from the original ‘84,” said association president Milford Allain. “They came out and had a hoot and it was great to see some of the older players mix with the younger generation.”
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