Highlights from Broncos Hockey on The Eagle 94.1 FM
Coach’s Show with Assistant Coach Darren Evjen
Pre-Game with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb
Pre-Game with Pats Coach Curtis Hunt
Pre-Game with new Broncos Forward Trevor Cameron
What do you say about that one? Just a heartbreaking loss for the Broncos. They had the game completely in control and let it slip away. Regina and more specifically Jordan Weal seem to have the Broncos’ number. Last night it really felt like Swift Current would get that monkey off their back… but it was not to be.
Those late game collapses can be devastating losses that linger with a team for a while. It’s important that the Broncos don’t let it distract them from what was a solid effort against Regina. I thought they really limited Regina’s scoring chances outside of a rough first half of the second period and obviously the final 2 minutes of the game. The Broncos also created enough opportunities for themselves to put the game away.
It was a solid road game. They didn’t take too many risks, but put enough pressure on the Pats to generate a two goal lead. Generally a lead like that late in the game is enough for a victory. I know Swift Current gave up two goal leads against Regina and Saskatoon earlier this season, but their defensive game has generally been a lot better since then. They certainly haven’t had anything like that happen in the final minutes before.
I think to some degree the end of the third last night was just one of those things that can happen sometimes in hockey. Perhaps they could have handled the scramble around the net on the Weal goal better. However, the tying goal by Martel came on a really unfortunate bounce off of the linesman’s skates. He also made a great shot with a small opening to beat Friesen. You can’t control something like that. You can only hope that you’ve taken advantage of the chances you’ve had enough that the result will go your way.
I’d say if anything the Broncos can look back on some opportunities they had earlier in the game to put it further out of reach or even at some of their chances in overtime. If they had been a little more opportunistic and put some of those pucks away we aren’t talking about the come back. The coaches will also mention of course the need to play a consistent 60 minute effort. They didn’t quite do that in Regina.
There are positives to take from the game. It was great to see them be able to role three healthy lines again. Swift Current is still missing some key pieces to their line-up like Eakin, Hutt, Wanger, Muth and Derko. That being said, the returns of Novotny and Hoban were huge for the forward group. The big Czech sniper was dangerous despite still not being quite 100%. Hoban’s return re-unites the very strong even strength and power play line with Vause and Lowry. We get a slight glimpse at what the forward group is capable of while still waiting to see everyone back together.
Of course it wouldn’t be this season for the Broncos if good injury news wasn’t followed by bad injury news. Kyle Verdino took a puck off the left shoulder/arm in the second period and did not return. As of last night I don’t have an update on his condition. That would be another huge blow to a team that hasn’t had a break all season. They’re also still going to be without Muth on the back end for another three weeks as his broken clavicle hasn’t healed quite as fast as everyone hoped.
Newly acquired winger Trevor Cameron looked solid in his first outing with the Broncos. I think he struggled a bit playing LW with Dowling and Novotny. The right handed shooter is usually on the right side and seemed to have some trouble with the defensive side of the game on the left. Once he was switched to the RW on the third line he showed why the Broncos added him to the roster. He created several chances using his speed and had more than a hand full of shots. A slow start but a strong finish for the new guy. We obviously have to give him some time as it is a pretty big jump from the SJHL to the WHL.
Stand out players in the game last night for the Broncos included certainly Taylor Vause who scored twice and played a strong all around game. That line with Vause/Hoban/Lowry has been solid all season when put together. I also really liked what Jordan Peddle brought to the Dowling/Novotny line. He helped give the Broncos some energy when they were in a bit of a funk in the second. Reece Scarlett was very good again last night with a goal and a helper. The points are coming at a much faster rate for the 17 year old in the last 6 weeks as he continues to eat up huge minutes.
Up next for Swift Current? Why more road games of course! We’re in Cranbrook on New Year’s Eve as the Broncos take on the Ice. The road swing continues in Lethbridge on Saturday. On Sunday we finally return to the Credit Union iPlex as the Broncos host the Blades.
This is a very important weekend as the management team continues to evaluate their next step. Can this Broncos group compete with and get points from two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference? If they can take something like 4 out of 6 points does that indicate to management that this is a team worth bolstering for a playoff run? If they can’t break this losing skid does that indicate to management that perhaps they’re best building around their young blue line and turning their veteran star forwards into assets for the future?
I think this coming deadline is certainly very tricky and I don’t envy the decisions Mark Lamb has to make. I feel like when healthy this forward group is as good as any in the WHL. They haven’t had a chance to prove that. I feel like if you add a veteran #1 puck mover to this group you can contend with and take out any team in the Eastern Conference. However, will they ever be healthy enough to really test that theory?
I know the coaches have faith in the talent on this roster. There is still a ton of season left and no one should sleep on the Broncos. Whatever Lamb and the management team decide to do I think they can justify taking either action. That doesn’t make their decisions any easier. This weekend could go a long way in helping them make up their minds.
Another excellent game from Broncos Captain Cody Eakin at the World Juniors yesterday. He scored his first goal of the round robin and drew a penalty that turned into another goal for Canada. That’s the second time he’s done that in as many games. I know you don’t get points for drawing penalties, but Eakin is helping his team in a big way by doing that. Drive the net, protect the puck and you’ll be rewarded.
How is Eakin enjoying the World Junior experience? The Swift Current Broncos official website caught up with him today to discuss that. Click here to check out their story.
Eakin and Canada get right back into the swing of things tonight against Norway. As usual we’ll have the game for you on your home for the World Juniors… The Eagle 94.1 FM. The broadcast gets started at 6pm.
By the way, tonight is also the start of the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge. Shea Howorko of the Broncos and Broncos prospect Sutton Olson lead Team West against Team Pacific tonight. Good luck guys!