Post-Game Coach’s Show with Darren Evjen (Download)
Pre-Game Interview with D Graeme Craig (Download)
Pre-Game Interview with Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
Pre-Game Interview with Wheat Kings Coach Cory Clouston (Download)
The Q with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
Congratulations to Reece Scarlett on his 200th career WHL game and Jon Groenheyde on his 150th. Both men have done a lot over their careers they can be very proud of.
That was a very well played hockey game. It’s funny how a different result in the shoot out can really change your perspective on a game. Monday’s win over Moose Jaw had everyone from players to the fans in a great mood. The shoot out losses to Prince Albert and Brandon then put a cloud over what otherwise could have been successful nights. Sports does come down to wins and losses… but those shoot out losses don’t feel the same way. To me it’s basically like the old ties even though it sure seems to string teams more than a tie used to.
I loved the job that Blanke/Vause/Gordon did against the Stone line. That was the second time Blanke has been moved up to the first line in an attempt to shut down Brandon’s top unit. It was one of the better games I’ve seen him play and he was the pick for unsung hero on the broadcast. You also have to credit the D as Craig and Nedomlel drew the assignment most of the time, but Scarlett and Heatherington also saw some important minutes against that top group. Stole and Ferland combined for 33 points against the Broncos this season. They only scored 4 of those in the last 2 games and over those two games none of them came during a normal even strength shift. The adjustments the Broncos made at 5 on 5 really seemed to work. I’d be curious how other teams do when they try to throw some size against that line.
Brad Hoban’s 2 goals now give him 7 points over his last 4 games. Assistant Coach Darren Evjen told me in the post-game show that he really likes how Hoban has been playing for a while now. Maybe it’s the mustache! He’s got some mojo since adding the different facial hair. Hoban has really helped elevate some different combinations on the second line this season. His point totals may have taken a small hit by not always being on the top line, but he has really helped guys like Black, Moser, Rossignol and others produce at different times. He has also slid into the top PP and that unit hasn’t missed a beat with him there. The second unit has missed him though.
Richard Nedomlel sure seems to love playing the Wheat Kings. He put up 9 points in his 8 games against Brandon this season. That’s nearly 25% of his points.
Graham Black’s point on Hoban’s first goal extended his point streak to four games. He has 6 points over that time. It seems like getting out of that scoring slump has been a boost for the rookie forward. A little confidence goes a long way, especially for someone who has that much skill. Hopefully for Black he can keep his role going so he has some momentum at the end of the season. He is going to be a big part of the offence next season.
Brandon scored once on three PP opportunities. The good news for the Broncos is that it wasn’t due to a major coverage break down or anything of that nature. They blocked a pass to the front of the net and it just took an unfavourable hop right to Stone. Swift Current has only allowed two PP goals in their last four games and it seems like the PK has been making some big strides over that time. There are a lot of guys who have been learning on the job in that role and hopefully that pays off down the stretch.
Jon Groenheyde had another excellent game. He seems to be in a little bit of a groove lately. They will need him to be at his best against a deep and likely fired up Moose Jaw squad tomorrow. The Warriors not only have Monday’s loss to the Broncos on their minds, but they also lost 8-2 in Regina tonight. They have an excellent team and aren’t going to take those losses lightly. It should be a good battle as the Broncos have really played the Warriors tough this season.
As for the playoff picture… Brandon’s extra point in the game tonight puts them 16 points ahead of Swift Current with only 9 games to play. That means even if the Broncos win 9 consecutive games, Brandon would only have to find 2 more points to at least tie them for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It would take an absolutely wild final month to make the playoffs. This group never quits until the bitter end. I’m sure there is lots of fight left in them even if their fate isn’t totally in their hands anymore.