Thanks to hockeyfights.com for getting that clip ASAP. I will do a blog post with all the Bronco fights from the road trip after we wrap things up against Seattle on Tuesday. You’ve got to love a goalie fight! It’s kind of funny that Jon Groenheyde made a couple of challenges a few weeks ago and never had anyone take him up on his offer… but Austin Smith has no trouble finding a dance partner on his first try. Smith did a good job against a guy who had a 4 inch height advantage on him. He’s a gamer. The Broncos more than held their own in all those scraps. They have to be among the toughest teams in the league this season.
Here is the rest of the game audio and some game thoughts…
Highlights of Broncos Hockey on The Eagle 94.1 FM (Download)
Brawl audio from our radio broadcast (Download)
Post-Game Coach’s Show with Darren Even (Download)
Pre-Game with Portland F Dillon Wagner (Download)
Pre-Game with Broncos F Taylor Vause (Download)
Pre-Game with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
Pre-Game with Portland Coach/GM Mike Johnston (Download)
Thanks to Steve Kaye for joining me on the broadcast in Portland. I appreciated his insight into the Winterhawks. Sort of a unique perspective in having a colour guy who watches the opponent most of the time.
I thought the Broncos played a very good final 40 minutes tonight. Unfortunately, the first 20 nearly took them completely out of the game. I liked the fight in the Broncos tonight and I’m not talking about the actual dropping of the gloves. Despite being down 5-1 and playing their 4th in 5 nights (3rd in 3 nights as well) they still played a fantastic 2nd period and a solid 3rd in trying to force a comeback. They had a lot of momentum on their side in the 2nd and if say Derko scored on their penalty shot or one of several chances Brad Hoban created for himself ended up in the back of the net… it could have turned into a different game.
Darren Evjen said they had a game plan that worked well against the skill guys from the Winterhawks. However, they got completely away from that in the first period. It seemed like once Rattie scored his first goal it just opened the flood gates. Portland’s top guys are as skilled and talented as any I have seen this season. They also got some luck with a couple of goals banking in off Broncos. I’m not saying that to take anything away from them because they won that game with a dominant performance in the first period. I just don’t think the Broncos were crushed by any means. This team continues to prove night in and night out that they will never quit and they will never back down. Portland’s skill was just too much in the first period and that was enough for the win.
I can certainly see how the Winterhawks and Americans ended up in a 7-6 game the other day! There is lot of speed and skill on those teams.
I heard a couple of people in the crowd behind me say the Broncos were poor sports for getting into that line brawl at the end of the game. That wasn’t the case here. Magnus got hit from behind and the Broncos stood up for him in response. Frustration may have escalated the moment. It didn’t cause it. Say what you will about the physical side of the game, but this Broncos team will not be pushed around and will always defend their teammates. They get under the skin of some other teams and their fans as a result. I don’t think they mind as long as they keep having each others’ backs.
A 1-3 record is not what the Broncos were hoping for I’m sure. They played well in Spokane and Everett, not so hot in Tri-City and 2/3 of a good game in Portand. It’s been an inconsistent trip with some very good moments and some down moments. Darren Evjen told me on the air after the game that they need Tuesday’s game with Seattle. That would at least leave them with a satisfactory result on the road if not an ideal one. It’s a big game and the team is going to have to use their day off to make sure they are physically ready to go against the Thunderbirds.
It was interesting talking to Mike Johnston about the turnaround in Portland. He preached a patient approach with very limited trading. If you bring all your guys up within your culture they are more likely to play the kind of game you want to play… and be comfortable within that system. It seems logical despite not being that common in a world where teams can make a lot of moves as they expect immediate success. It doesn’t hurt when you draft players like Rattie either.
We have seen the results of players developing together in the Broncos organization too. Vause and Hoban are 4 and 5 year Broncos respectively and leading this team. The core group of 93s were the first rookies in the Mark Lamb regime and they are leading the way in the style of play their coach wants them to play. There was even an immediately bond in the 1996 born players that were at training camp this year. It seems natural that if players are allowed to grow and mature as players together than they are going to be more willing to go to war together.
Again the final game of our trip is Tuesday against Seattle. Does anyone have suggestions for what I should do with my day off in Seattle?
He is a quick video look at the Memorial Coliseum: