The Spectrum Security Bears had a lot of well-rested legs on their bench and that likely played a deciding role in the current ownership of the Playoff Champs Cup.
The Bears had more in the tank as they took a 6-0 shutout win over the Na-Cho Nyak Dun Development Corporation in the Yukon Broomball Association’s playoff final at the Takhini Broomball Arena on Saturday.
It was the second year in a row the Bears won the league playoffs.
“This was one of the only games this season that was this lopsided,” said Bears assistant captain Shayne Fairman. “All the games throughout the year have been really close; it’s has been a really competitive league this year, so it’s been fun.”
The Bears, who were in first at the end of the regular season, had more reserves in the final with seven on the bench. The Nachos had two subs on their bench.
The Bears also went undefeated into the final, making their route a lot less arduous. They played three games over the week to reach the final, while the Nachos played two Saturday morning, making the final their third of the day.
“We play with a big bench all year just for this reason, so we have legs at the end of the year,” said Bears captain Josh Hirsch. “They had to come the long way around, we had an easy path because we won …
We only had to play three games.”
The Nachos won the championships in 2012 and the season opening Bob Park Ice Breaker Broomball Tournament in November.
“We came through the B side and had a few more games this week and a short bench,” said Nachos captain Chris Saunders. “But the team did well. We played smart, tried to keep the games slow, unfortunately it didn’t work out in the final.
“Our game plan was to slow it down as much as possible, keep the goals down, pop a couple in. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that well.”
Bears’ Blayne Epp scored with a hard shot from the right wing to make it 1-0 at the end of the first. Teammate Ryan Martin swatted a rebound out of the air to make it 2-0 a few minutes into the second. Epp scored late in the second on a long shot with Nacho goalie Charles McLeod missing the kick-save. Hirsch scored on a two-on-one in the final seconds of the second period.
Bears’ Justin Saunders found the back of the net midway through the third, lifting the ball over a sprawled McLeod. Hirsch logged a second goal on a breakaway late in the game.
Chris Sawyer was in net and got the shutout for the Bears.
The Bears reached the final with a 2-1 overtime win over the Roadhouse. Justin Saunders put in the game-winner just seconds into the overtime period.
Both Saunders are among 13 players who will represent Yukon on the Coates Lead Dawgs at the national broomball championships in the mixed division this week in Calgary.
“I think we should do all right, we have a pretty young forward line – 20-somethings – and our defence is the experienced side of the team,” said Chris Saunders, who is captain of the Yukon team.
Saturday marked the end of the Yukon Broomball Association’s 30th season. Its Whitehorse-based league expanded from seven to nine teams, with about 40 new players, this year.
In addition to sending a team to the nationals this week, the association will send a mixed team to the 2014 World Broomball Championships this November in Japan.
“It was an incredible season,” said association president Milford Allain.
“I’m thinking about a youth league next year with certain age groups. We did it for one month this year, so we’re hoping to expand on it next year, and hopefully in a couple years get it to the national level. We eventually want to host the nationals here, so it would be nice to have the youth a part of that.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org