The BC road swing strikes again. Just as it was two years ago, injuries have already started to pile up on this two-week swing. Back in 2010 in Kamloops it was Killian Hutt getting taken to the hospital with a frightening concussion to start a trip that would include several key injuries and eventually decimate the lineup. This time there was no moment quite that scary, but both Josh Derko and Levi Bews were removed from the game and taken to hospital with lower body injuries. Unfortunately both will be out of the lineup tonight and probably for more time after that. Derko is on crutches right now so that gives you some indication where is at. It looks like it’ll be several weeks for him. I’ll get as much of an update on that as I can later.
With Derko and Bews out the Broncos are only able to fill one of those spots with the return of Daniel Dale from suspension. So how are they filling that extra hole? They’ve called up 2012 first round WHL Bantam Draft pick Glenn Gawdin from the BC Major Midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. He is set to make his WHL debut tonight in Kelowna against the Rockets.
Gawdin is red hot lately too. He had 2 goals and 6 assists in 2 games against the Cariboo Cougars over the weekend. He’s riding an 8 game point streak with 17 points over that span. In total this season, Gawdin has 8 goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 18 games.
Now we shouldn’t expect too much out of a 15-year-old making is WHL debut. I imagine he’ll get limited ice as he adjusts to the level of play here. This is a move to give the Broncos a full lineup and to give Gawdin a chance to see what it’s like to mix it up in a league he hopes to make next fall. The responsibility of filling the bigger roles played by guys like Derko and Bews will likely to fall to other regulars in the lineup who will have to move up from their usual duties to take some additional responsibility.
I imagine if Brent Benson gets healthy before the end of this road swing he will also be able to come in and eat some of those key minutes. Either way guys like Derko and Bews are huge losses. They’ve been among the most important Bronco forwards this year in different ways and you can’t easily replace them.
This Broncos squad is a gutsy team that will keep battling as they face more adversity here. As frustrating as last night they are a character team and will need to dig deep to bounce back tonight against a very tough Kelowna squad. The Rockets have won 9 in a row at home and have only lost twice all season in their building. Kelowna is also 4-0 against the East Division so far this season. History tells you the Broncos will find a way to keep it close… the question is whether not they can find a way to pull off a late win this time.
It’s also a match-up with a lot of Swift Current connections. Kelowna’s roster includes Swift Current products Colton Heffley and Mackenzie Johnston. One of their assistant coaches is Broncos legend Dan Lambert. Their Assistant GM is one of the architects of the old Broncos championship teams in Lorne Frey. Even their play by play guy (Regan Bartel) is a Swift Current guy and former Broncos broadcaster. Maybe Kelowna should be called Swift Current West?
For now I’ll leave you with a couple of videos from Gawdin’s big weekend with the Great Vancouver Canadians against the Cariboo Cougars. He’s #9 on the blue team. In the first game he had 3 assists and in the second he had 2 goals and 3 assists. Check it out…