Is it playoffs already? The Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings play three times this week over a five-day span in what should be a playoff-like environment between the two teams. Both clubs have had their ups and downs so far this season and sit in a group of four teams tied for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Needless to say these games could end up being pretty significant if one team or another is able to win all three or get 5 of 6 points.
That won’t come easy. Both games between the two clubs have been battles so far. The Wheat Kings came from behind to win 5-4 in a shootout during their lone visit to Swift Current so far this season, while the Broncos held on for a hard fought 3-2 win in Brandon two weeks ago. Both teams could also use some wins after only picking up the victory in 3 of their last 10 games. I expect some intense hockey this week.
Interview with Broncos F Levi Bews (Download)
Interview with Zac Mackay (Download)
Zac and Levi are both part of the Broncos Movember campaign. You can click here to donate to the cause.
Here is my article on tonight’s game from Swift Current Online:
The Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings are set for an almost playoff-like series this week.
The WHL East Division rivals will play each other three times in five days.
“We’ve prepared for these games,” said Broncos forward Zac Mackay. “We’ve got to stick to our system, how we played in Brandon the last game we were successful. We’ve just got to play easy, get the pucks in deep, crash and bang.”
The two clubs enter Thursday’s game among four teams tied for third place in the division. Both teams have also only won three times in their last ten games.
“They’re gonna be hungry,” Mackay said. “We beat them last time and they’re going to be hungry for some wins. We’re tight with them in the standings and it’s just going to be a fight to the last minutes.”
Swift Current is coming off three very tight losses in Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton. They then had a week off to contemplate how close games are slipping out of their fingers this season.
“It’s both frustrating and not so much,” Bews said. “We are playing well enough to win but we’re not getting the wins. It’s frustrating but we’ve got to stick with it and bear down on our chances.”
Bews is having a career year so far for the Broncos. While with Vancouver and Swift Current last season he scored 10 goals in 64 games last season. The Longview, Alberta native has matched that total in only 26 games so far this season. He has 7 points in 8 games this month.
“It’s just more opportunities,” Bews said. “(Coach Mark Lamb) has given me more opportunities on the power play and stuff. Just the experience in the league and playing with the guys we have a great team this year so it’s all helping.”
Meanwhile, Mackay earned additional playing time and scored a goal during the Alberta road swing. The Swift Current native was moved up from the fourth line to play a bigger role during games in Calgary and Edmonton.
“We went over some of the things that we needed to do to make the team successful,” Mackay said. “I just felt like I needed to step up… just work my hardest in every shift, be better every shift and I guess it paid off. It’s nice to get noticed by the coaches and get the opportunity to play with the top lines.”
Mackay knows as a rookie it’s a process getting used to the WHL and earning more ice time.
“It’s just all about fitting in, being comfortable in the game and doing your best to just work your game.”
The Broncos play Brandon in a home-and-home on Tuesday and Wednesday. They will then host the Wheat Kings again on Saturday. Brandon has been battling an injury bug that has left them without leading scorers Alessio Bertaggia and Ryon Pulock.
You can hear Tuesday’s game from Swift Current live on The Eagle 94.1 FM with The New Pioneer Co-op Home Centre Broncos Hockey at 6:30pm.
The Broncos are in the final few days of their Movember campaign. Several of the players have been growing moustaches to raise money and awareness for men’s health, with a specific focus on prostate cancer.
ServiceMASTER in Swift Current put on a party on Monday night with the Broncos, Home Hardware Legionnaires and Diamond Energy Wildcats to raise money for the Movember campaign. Fans had the chance to eat, mingle and play floor hockey with the local hockey teams.
You can donate to the Broncos Movember campaign by visiting their website before Saturday.