The first sips from a championship cup are the most delicious, as the Spectrum Security Bears can now attest.
The team passed around their first cup after winning the Bob Park Ice Breaker Broomball Tournament at Takhini Arena on Sunday.
The Bears captured the title with a 3-0 shutout win over the Roadhouse.
“I was very good friends with Bob Park when he was alive,” said Bears captain Josh Hirsch. “So it’s an honour to win this one.”
The final was a showdown between two underdogs. The Bears advanced to the final with a semifinal win over defending champs, Nacho Nyak Dun Development Corporation (NNDDC), who also won in 2010 under the name Coyne.
“They had an undefeated season last year… they were the team to beat,” said Hirsch.
Spectrum Security won the semifinal with a goal from Hirsh followed by one from Lars Jessup in overtime. The Bears, who lost 4-0 to NNDDC in the round-robin, put it together when they needed it the most.
“We just played really, really good today,” said Hirsch. “We pulled it together, played smarter, faster, and we figured it out today and were the team to beat.”
The Roadhouse was making its fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament final, winning it in 2009. But the team was anything but the favourite at the start of the tournament.
After missing the entry deadline, the Roadhouse was dropped into the draw at the last minute – before even having a full roster. The team picked up eight players who had never played broomball before. A couple watched game footage on YouTube the night before the start of the tournament to learn the sport.
“It’s the Bob Park memorial tournament and Bob Park (is the former owner) of the Roadhouse,” said Roadhouse’s Becky Brauen. “It’s his tournament and his team, so we had to beg and plead to get in. And once we were approved to get in, we didn’t have a team.”
The Roadhouse suffered two shutout losses to start the tournament, before getting their first win, by a goal. They then dumped Capital Towing by a goal before downing the 2008 champions, the Whitehorse Dental Donkeys, in the semifinal.
Roadhouse beat the Donkeys 1-0 with the game-winner coming off the broom of Rob LaRose in the first period.
“We didn’t cross the red line once in the second half and (our goalie) Kevin (Smith) stood on his head,” said Brauen.
The more experienced Bears, who finished second in the Yukon Broomball League last season, came out strong in the final with two first-period goals.
Bears forward Nicholas Wilson knocked in Hirsch’s rebound for the game-winner and soon after Ryan Martin found Smith’s five-hole to make it 2-0.
Two minutes into the second period Shayne Fairman one-timed a cross-ice pass from Martin to make it 3-0.
Getting the shutout for the Bears was Chris Sawyer.
“He’s a rock,” said Hirsch. “He keeps us in every game.”
The Bears out-shot the Roadhouse 16-2 in the first period, but only 5-3 in the second. The drop in shots had more to do with tired legs than playing a defensive game, said Hirsch.
“This was our third game today… So we came out hard and heavy and we didn’t have it in the second,” said the captain. “Our legs were killing us.
“If it was 0-0 (after the first) it would have been their game to take.”
The Bob Park tournament is the official kick-off of the Yukon Broomball Association’s season with league play beginning next week. More information on the league can be found at www.yukonbroomball.com.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com