By Phil Lucas
The third annual LTU Broomball Tournament was an inaugural event of sorts. With the arctic temperatures gripping Southfield, the entire two-week tournament was held at the ice rink in front of the Don Ridler Field House. In previous years, matches were played at the Southfield Ice Arena because of unseasonably warm temperatures.
The championship game on Thursday had temperatures hovering at 0°F and wind chills approaching -20°F. Moves Like Jagr (Brandon Churches, Richard Douglas, Tony Fakhouri, Jeremy Nafus, Michael Paciero, Matthew Polhemus) defeated Eberle Hills 90210 (Austin McKain, Andrew Abbott, Jared Patterson, Adam Czerny, Nate Bellinger, Mike Bandkau) by a final score of 4-3.
“It was so cold,” explained Jeremy Nafus, captain of Moves Like Jagr. “After broomballs started to shatter, you could tell just how cold it was.”
Dedicated fans gathered around space heaters to watch as both teams fought for the coveted E. George Lawrence Cup. The cup has historical significance and is named after LTU’s second president who was a strong advocate of student life and athletics. The names of the championship players are inscribed on the cup, in keeping with the Stanley Cup tradition in professional hockey. The cup is on display at the Ridler Field House.
With Eberle Hills 90210 up, 3-2, Nafus scored two goals in the remaining three minutes of the game to give Moves Like Jagr the Cup, while becoming the first two-time winner in Lawrence Cup history. He was named Tournament MVP.
Nate Bellinger, captain of Eberle Hills 90210, was proud of his team and their performance. They dominated for much of the tournament. He believed that the weather actually added to the experience.
“Playing outdoors was awesome,” Bellinger explained. “The wind and snow made the game way better.”
Bellinger and Nafus were unanimous in their decision for Defensive Specialist of the Tournament.
“Jared Patterson really did an awesome job all season in net for us, “Bellinger explained. “He really gave us a chance in the final.” Patterson brought in a career goals against average (GAA) of less than one. He was exceptional in this year’s tournament as well. Nafus explained that Patterson was always great at “attacking before the shot.”
Overall, Assistant Athletic Director Don Gillette was proud of all the teams, and he looks forward to more broomball in the future.
“It’s nice to have the games in front of the Field House with an electric atmosphere,” Gillette explained. “The finals held up this year once again as the most competitive game of the tournament. Congratulations to Moves Like Jagr!”