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Frontier Builders Coach’s Show with Darren Evjen
An inconsistent effort cost the Broncos another game against Regina. For whatever reason they can’t put three periods together against the Pats the way they’ve been able to against everyone else. The first game of the season with Regina saw the Broncos dominate the first half before letting their foot off the gas and letting the Pats back into it. In the second game this past Friday the Broncos had 21 of their 29 shots in the second period. Last night the issue was more temporary lapses rather than extended sequences.
It was another slow start for the Broncos. That was an issue the whole weekend and put them down 2-0 early. However, Justin Dowling’s goal of the year candidate brought them back to within a goal and turned the momentum back in their favour.
Just when it seemed like things were going Swift Current’s way they got hemmed in their own end for the first 2:30 of the second period and suddenly it’s a 4-1 game. Again a nice play by Dowling setting up a terrific backhand goal by Stepan Novotny would help turn the tide. The Broncos were practically dominant for most of the second period and seemed to have the game back under control. That was until another mental lapse or two and suddenly it was a 6-2 Regina lead.
Hockey can be a cruel sport sometimes. I don’t think the Broncos were 4 goals worse than the Pats after 40 minutes, but Regina took advantage of the mistakes Swift Current made. They forechecked hard, were opportunistic and had a much improved power play. Regina was full value for the win. However, the Broncos I think can view the game as a missed opportunity. They controlled a significant portion of the game but let downs took them out of it.
No one was using it as an excuse but missing Cody Eakin and later Justin Dowling to injury is certainly a factor. I’ve noticed early on in my time in this league how much a star player or two can change or control a game. With Eakin not even dressing and Dowling leaving the game in the 2nd period the Broncos were suddenly without a couple of the best players in the league. That had to hurt hem.
The latest I’ve heard is that both guys are day-to-day.
Killian Hutt had a couple of goals in the third period. One was a very nice quick wrist shot after a terrific saucer pass from Jordan Peddle. The other was off a penalty shot to avenge Ketlo stopping him in the same situation on Friday. He now has 4 goals in his last 4 games. It seems like Hutt is getting more comfortable in Broncos colours and starting to build some chemistry with his teammates out there. He clearly has some offensive weapons and found a way to put a few pucks home this weekend.
I don’t think the losses this weekend exposed a major flaw in the team or the systems. Simply enough they had a couple of mental let downs. It’s easy for me as a broadcaster to break it down but as an elite athlete you are never going to be able to be sharp 72 games a year. I’m sure there are things the coaching staff wants to see improved but ultimately it was just a let down game. They’ll happen.
FRIESEN HARDEST WORKER
Broncos goaltender Mark Friesen won the Rittinger’s Men’s Wear Hardest Worker award for the first month of the season. It’d be hard to argue that as the 20-year-old started all 16 games the Broncos have played thus far. He has been among the best goaltenders of the league through those 16 games.
It’s another honour after Friesen was previously named the CHL Goaltender of the Week for a period of the same stretch. Congrats to Mark it is well deserved.