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TEAM PHOTO – The Yukon Lead Dawgs take the opportunity for a group picture earlier in the Broomball World Championships in Blaine, Minn,. The team finished with a record of 3-5, finishing sixth overall out of 10 teams in the mixed division. Photo submitted by CHAD BUSTIN

Yukon Lead Dawgs return home

The Yukon Lead Dawgs, who were playing in the World Broomball Championships, have returned home from Blaine, Minnesota.

By John Tonin on November 8, 2018

The Yukon Lead Dawgs, who were playing in the World Broomball Championships, have returned home from Blaine, Minnesota. The team wrapped up their tournament Friday, having played three games, taking home a bronze medal in the Challenge Cup division.

The team finished with a record of 3-5, finishing sixth in the overall standings.

Ten teams participated in the mixed tournament, and were divided into two divisions based on their record through the round-robin, which is how the Lead Dawgs played for a bronze medal.

“Winning the Challenge Cup is nothing to be ashamed of,” said head coach Scott Smith. “It’s an accomplishment of it’s own. The team did really well, but there is definitely room for improvement.”

The team started their playoff hunt against the Australia Green - Dingoes, in the quarter final. The Lead Dawgs were able to find their offence, cruising to a 6-0 win. Smith attributes some of the team’s improvement to the level of competition they played early in the tournament.

“When we played the other Australian team it proved to us we could play with anybody,” said Smith. “Our first game we played the Broomshak, an elite team from out East (Canada). We didn’t get blown out by them and held our own. Success cannot all be measured by the scoreboard.”

In the Challenge Cup semi-final the Lead Dawgs squared off against the Regina Weezilz. The team played a hard-fought match, but came up short, falling by a final score of 2-1. With the loss the Lead Dawgs missed the opportunity to play for gold, but still had one game left against the Japan Ice Ducks, a rematch of their first win of the tournament, to see who took home the bronze.

The bronze medal game rivalled the first meeting the team’s played, which the Lead Dawgs won 2-1. The Lead Dawgs managed to get one past the Japanese keeper taking the bronze by a final score of 1-0.

“It was a back and forth match,” said Smith. “Our goalie stopped a lot of shots. Japan were a feisty bunch, who fought hard and wanted to win. We tended to start flat in most games, so we made it a point to come out aggressive, and managed to get one past their keeper. Everyone put in 100 per cent effort.”

As the team landed back in Whitehorse, there is already talks about what will happen for the next World Broomball Championship, which is held every two years.

“It certainly created some buzz within the team for the next tournament in two years,” said Smith. “Hopefully for the Yukon Broomball Association (YBA) this will drive the sport in the Yukon. Everyone had a really good time and left feeling fairly upbeat. They would probably all agree that it is a different level here.”

The Lead Dawgs, which Smith says have a lot of young players on the team, will now have some much needed experience under their belt that they can draw upon when looking to improve their respective skills.

“We are still young and did really well for a team that hasn’t played a competitive tournament together,” said Smith.

“Team play drives so much of what goes on here, and we played some set teams that play together all the time.

“The Yukon style is run-and-gun, whereas the rest of the teams play a more half-ice controlled game. We adapted to what we could do in the short periods between games, we did play some half-ice style of play but working on our half- ice game is something that we need to work on. If we control the ball the other team can’t score.”

The players on the Yukon Lead Dawgs will now turn their attention to their broomball season in the YBA.

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