BRUNO — At nationals, the Bruno Junior Axemen broomball team won gold on the B-side.
Gord Bender, the team’s coach, said they were happy with the results of the tournament, which took place in Rivière-du-Loup, Que. from April 1 to 6.
“The boys can’t hang their head. They came home with some hardware,” he said. “The caliber of ball, we were just neck-and-neck with any team there.”
The team played six games in the round robin, winning 2-1 against the Windsor Devils and 3-0 against the Manitoba All Stars, and losing 1-0 against the Quebec Frost, 3-2 against the Kilsyth Flyers from Ontario, 4-1 against previous national champion Ontario Sting, and 2-1 against the Blitz Témiscouata.
Bender said the team played well enough to be on the A-side, which they missed by one more victory in the round robin. With the exception of the game against the Ontario Sting, which saw the String score shorthanded goals while the Axemen worked off seven penalties, the games were lost by a single point.
“We had our chances to the big game but that's [what happens] when you go to nationals, everything’s so tight,” he said. “We lost three games by a goal. It’s a game of breaks and bounces.”
Once the team got into the B-side playoffs, they had a strong showing, defeating the Manitoba All Stars 5-0 in the semifinal and 3-0 against the Blitz Témiscouata in the final.
On the A-side, the Ontario Sting won 2-1 against the Kilsyth Flyers.
Bender said he was pleased with how well his team did.
“We had three lines and all three lines came out and scored big goals for us,” he said. It wasn’t just one line. "With all three lines, the scoring was pretty well equal.”
The coach said the team put an emphasis on defence all year and that the efforts of the six defensemen and the two goalies was superb.
Bender said the team is aiming to go back to nationals again next year.
“We lose six guys but will gain four midgets who are very strong,” he said. “Their athletic ability will be good enough for us to go to the national.”