Highlights from Broncos Hockey on The Eagle 94.1 FM (Edited by Nevan Champion)
Post-Game Coach’s Show with Darren Evjen
A weird game for the Broncos last night where I thought they played pretty well but made five huge coverage errors that wound up in the back of their net. Usually when you’re out of position like that on goals it would reflect a poor showing and perhaps a night where the team just wasn’t mentally sharp. In this case I didn’t feel that way. It seemed to me the Broncos were playing with Saskatoon throughout the game and yet would have these momentary lapses that ended up turning into Blades goals.
If you get a chance to look at the video of the game at all you’d see what I mean by those lapses. You can check it out by clicking here for the Broncos official website. Saskatoon had a man wide open for a rebound or tip in on each of their first five goals. They were basic coverage mistakes that certainly come partially because of how much skill the Blades can throw at you. On the other hand they’re the kinds of mistakes the Broncos didn’t make when they beat the Blades earlier this month. There’s no team in the league that you can afford to give that much wide open space to.
So you would think that means the Broncos weren’t sharp all game long. That wasn’t what I saw. Instead I felt like outside of a stretch early in the second period it was a very even game territorially. The Blades didn’t get a ton of big cycles going and didn’t dominate the flow of the game. The Broncos had some push back and created their share of chances. However, as we’ve seen lately, Swift Current couldn’t take advantage of their chances while the Blades converted most of their high-end opportunities.
Swift Current had two breakaways (Wagner and Scarlett) stopped, they had a few odd man rushes, Stepan Novotny hit two posts in one power play, Adam Lowry hit the post on a fantastic deflection… that’s what has been happening with the Broncos of late.
They did find a couple of late goals to put a bit of a scare into the Blades. It was nice to see Dalton Reum notch his first career WHL goal. He looked pretty good on the PP! Dowling picked up a goal and an assist in the third frame.
Lowry and Craig also connected on the first Broncos goal in the second period. That was a really nice place as Lowry got the puck back to the point and did what coaches always tell you to do… he went straight to the net. Craig found him with some nice touch.
Maybe getting a few goals past a stingy Blades team will open things up for Swift Current. They’ve got to make those chances count.
I really liked Jordan Peddle’s game last night. He dropped the gloves against a bigger Siemens in a fierce second period tilt. He lost his stick on one shift but stayed in the play with two shots blocks and forced the puck out to the neutral zone to help create Scarlett’s breakaway. He also made a hard rush to the net that created Dowling’s goal. That’s Peddle at his best. He’s had two very solid games in a row.
Peddle wasn’t the only Bronco to push back physically. I liked that some Broncos didn’t like what they saw out there and tried to fire the guys up. Nedomlel and Stransky had a fun tilt where you could see they had a lot of respect for one another even after Stransky got busted open. Josh Derko stepped in against Sutter after a questionable hit on Tanner Muth and got some shots in against a tough customer. Dillon Wagner also dropped the gloves as Collins was hacking away at Austin Smith in the final minute of the game while trying to get his hat trick.
Is something like a hat trick really that important that Collins had to press so hard for it in the last minute of a 6-3 game? The linesmen stepped in between Wagner and Collins pretty quickly and it only barely got going. Either way the Blades forward ended up with the Gordie Howe hat trick instead of the goal scoring hat trick that he seemed to be searching for in the final 5 minutes.
Speaking of questionable hits… the Broncos were missing Kyle Verdino, Christian Magnus and Andy Blanke all from hits against Moose Jaw. The only one I saw was the hit on Verdino that I thought certainly was a hit from behind and wasn’t called.
It sure feels like we’re seeing a lot of concussions and hits from behind this season despite all the renewed focus on it. Are the penalties in place getting the job done? Is it time to follow the Junior A example and start tossing players from the game for every hit from behind? Or at the very least should a hit from behind go from a 2 minute to a 4 minute penalty? Right now the 2 minute minor doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone.
Keys for success tonight? Tightening up coverage around the goal for one. They need a strong performance out of Mark Friesen. We know what he can do as he was the team’s MVP in the first half without question. He needs to get right back to that kind of play if Swift Current is to knock off a top team like the Blades. The Broncos also need to keep driving the net. They scored all three of their goals last night with guys going hard to the net. That’s where success will come.
The Blades are without question a deeper and scarier team with Schenn in their line-up. The line that carried them all through the World Juniors (Viedensky, Nicholls and Collins) is all of a sudden the second line. Their power play is suddenly a lot more dangerous. They’ve got three lines that can score as well as any and a fourth line with grit, tenacity and some young skill. They’ve also got one of the deepest and most skilled blue lines in the league as well. It’s going to be damn tough to knock them out in a seven game series.
Can they be knocked off in a single game though? Absolutely. The Broncos are 2-2 against the Blades this month. There’s no reason think they don’t have another one in them if they execute the game plan.
On another note I really enjoyed the Power Breakfast this morning. Darren Evjen gave a nice speech about what athletics can do for a young man. It’s a good reminder of how there is a lot more to being involved in the WHL than getting a shot at the NHL. These are experiences that help turn these young boys into good men. We see it time and time again.
Don Narcisse also is a funny and charismatic man who has a great story. Nobody believed in him and he kept proving people wrong with hard work and dedication. It’s also great to see how the province embraced him to the point that the Texas native has made Regina his home.
Narcisse in all his time in Canada has never seen a hockey game. That all changes tonight as he checks out the Broncos/Blades game tonight as a special guest of the team. It’s also an alumni night with the return of a five-year Bronco in Chad Beagle. I hope to see you there. We’ve got the broadcast at 6:30pm on The Eagle 94.1 FM with a live stream on Swift Current Online.
Lastly for those who have been bugging me via text and comments to see my audition at Living Sky Idol this week (I lost a bet on the Chance and Mullin morning show in case you aren’t from here or missed the show this week) here it is…
If I had any credibility I just lost it! See you at the game tonight.