Post-Game with Dalton Reum and Graham Black (Download)
Post-Game with Broncos Assistant Coach Andy Schneider (Download)
Pre-Game with Broncos prospect Zac Mackay (Download)
Pre-Game with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
Pre-Game with Raiders Coach Steve Young (Download)
I haven’t got a copy of my interview with Raiders broadcaster Drew Wilson yet and I will post it if I am able to.
Congrats to Jordan Wittman for making his WHL debut on the same night where Brad Hoban scored his 150th career point. The Broncos also had Zac Mackay in the lineup due to the injuries to Adam Lowry and Shea Howorko, as well as the flu that kept Ryon Moser out of the game. I thought both rookies played OK in limited duty. They didn’t hurt the team and that’s what you hope for from guys in that position. They even made some noise in the offensive zone on one shift. I imagine Mackay’s stay could get extended considering the current circumstances.
As you can hear in the Mark Lamb interview, the news from Lowry’s surgery wasn’t good. He will be in a cast for at least two months. That means the most optimistic return is late February and there is a good chance he doesn’t play again this season. That’s a very tough break for both the team and Lowry himself.
I loved the way guys stepped up in the game against the Raiders tonight. Blanke and Magnus both had very solid games in helping generate opportunities on the second line with Graham Black. Brad Hoban slid seamlessly onto the top line with Vause and Gordon. The Cave/Derko/Dale line did a lot of good work as well. The Broncos really controlled the game in terms of puck possession and number of quality chances. It was a consistent, sixty minute effort from the home club in front of a crowd of over 2700 for Two-Two-Tuesday.
I thought the change to Reum/Nedomlel and Heatherington/Muth on D worked. Graeme Craig had a quietly good game in his return from injury and Scarlett was just terrific in his own zone as usual. Craig may not be the Scott Stevens that people want all big, strong d-man to be. Not every big guy is going to be that physically aggressive and it doesn’t always work for those who are. He is playing very smart defensive hockey against skilled players when tasked to shut down the other team’s top lines. I really like how he has been handling that job. You don’t notice him… and in a good way. If you watch close he is playing very effectively in that role in his more recent opportunities. I wonder what we will see from the lineup on Friday when Fleming is back from his one-game suspension.
I’m sure the Broncos were getting frustrated as they dominated the game and were down 2-0 after the second period. However, they must be getting used to having to erase multi-goal deficits at this point. It’s getting to be old hat. The character to come back was apparent again. If only they didn’t end up in a position where they needed to come from behind so often!
Cole Holowenko was very good in the Raider goal and the Broncos didn’t cash in on a lot of the great chances they created. The execution around the net to me was the only thing really lacking in a very solid performance. That cost them the regulation win tonight. When you let a game you dominate get to a shoot out… you are taking away your chance to win the game on your own terms.
The Raiders are surely happy to leave Swift Current with their fourth consecutive win. They didn’t have the kind of game I usually expect out of a Prince Albert club. They often get a lot of rubber to the Broncos goal. Tonight they didn’t even get to 25 shots over 65 minutes. The Broncos really controlled the pace and gave Prince Albert’s top guns very limited space to work with. Swift Current had another strong effort and only a single point to show for it. Another game where we can talk about the positives and lament a missed opportunity for more.
The heart, will, work ethic and character are obvious. They are a group that I would think any fans can find a reason to get behind. They are also a group that really has to start putting teams away when they have a chance, because these winnable games are the difference between a ticket to the dance and an early ticket home in March.
Up next is a trip to Regina to take on the Pats for the first time since a season opening home and home game. The Pats put some extra distance between themselves and the Broncos in the two weeks before Christmas. Swift Current needs to start cutting into that distance ASAP. We know they will never give up, but with a trade deadline looming I would think they need to get results here fast or there could be some veterans moving to contenders over the next few weeks.
I don’t want to sound negative. I loved the way the Broncos played tonight and it was a blast at the rink with the great atmosphere and terrific energy on the ice. They are playing a brand of hockey any fan would enjoy. The product is top-notch and I am very entertained almost every night. I also know that dressing room really wants to be in the playoffs. They’ve got to find that killer instinct and string some wins together to open that road up a little bit.