- Click here for the boxscore
- Click here for the official website recap
- Click here for the Swift Current Online recap
- Click here for video highlights
Highlights of The New Pioneer Co-op Broncos Hockey (Download)
Post-Game with Adam Lowry, Jay Merkley and Jamie Heward (Download)
Pre-Game with Broncos Coahc/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
- B&A Petroleum Game Shifter: 4-2 goal
- Low Cost Towing Unsung Hero: Reece Scarlett
- Standard Motors Crunch of the Game: Richard Nedomlel
Here is my recap from Swift Current Online:
The Broncos brought Jay Merkley to Swift Current for his goal scoring ability and it didn’t take long for him to make a difference. Merkley put in the rebound from Coda Gordon shot on a 5 on 3 power play in the third period to extend his new team’s lead to 4-2 in an eventual 5-2 win over Red Deer on Wednesday night.
“I couldn’t ask for an easier first goal as a Bronco,” Merkley said. “If I missed that I don’t even know what I’d think of myself. It was pretty lucky, but it’s a good one to get off my chest here.”
Merkley played with Graham Black and Ryon Moser at even strength. He was also slotted on the first power play unit.
“I’ve never played that much,” Merkley noted. “I was a little gassed to say the least. I think over time that will get better if I continue to play that much. It’s a pretty big honour to play on a like with Black and Moser, they’re two skilled players. I just had a lot of fun out there tonight and I look forward to playing here in Swift Current.”
The Broncos added the 17-year-old Merkley from Lethbridge on Monday for 19-year-old Josh Derko and a 3rd round 2014 WHL bantam draft pick. He made a quick impression on the coaching staff.
“He brings an exceptional level of talent,” said Broncos Assistant Coach Jamie Heward. “We told him at the start of the game… he’s expected to be a scorer, but we don’t expect him to score. We expect him to play a good solid hockey game…. be a good all around hockey player. Offensive guys will find a way to get points… if he would have connected on 4 or 5 of his other passes he could have had 4 points. For the first game coming into a new system, a new coach, a new team and everything I thought he was exceptional.”
Adam Lowry opened the scoring at 10:12 of the first period as the Bronco Captain extended his point streak to 18 games. He tied Portland Winterhawks forward Brendan Leipsic with the longest streak of the season so far.
“I thought we limited their chances,” Lowry said. “They got a bit of momentum coming in the 2nd when they scored that one goal but we were able to get that big 5 on 3 goal in the 3rd and were able to shut them down he rest of the way. We talked about in the room how teams can come back in this league and we have to learn how to protect the lead… we just talked about not throwing pucks up the middle and giving up any odd man chances.”
Matt Bellerive tied the game for Red Deer shortly after Lowry’s opening goal on a puck that glanced off of Eetu Laurikainen’s glove and in. The 19-year-old netminder was very good the rest of the way with 34 saves in his return to the lineup after spending a month with Team Finland at the World Junior Championship.
“Anytime you get a goalie of caliber back in the lineup it gives the team some confidence that if you do make a mistake he’s gonna be there to bail you out,” Lowry said. “He certainly was. He made some highlight reel saves especially in the 2nd on that power play they had.”
The Broncos pulled ahead in the 2nd period on goals by defencemen Richard Nedomlel and Reece Scarlett. Red Deer started to turn the momentum around at the end of the period with another goal by Bellerive and carried that pressure into the 3rd. A Matt Dumba slap shot off the post was as close as the Rebels would get to a tie before Merkley put the game out of reach.
Coda Gordon and Lowry each had 2 point games for Swift Current as they wound up 1 for 3 on the power play. Red Deer was held to 0 for 3 on the man advantage.
It was the final game before Thursday’s WHL trade deadline. The Broncos made a big move on Monday and Coach/GM Mark Lamb indicated the trade market has been quiet since then. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some anxious players ahead of the 4pm deadline.
“You can’t help but be nervous,” Heward said. “There’s so many rumours going around… everybody’s talking about it. That’s life… that’s hockey. I think all of our guys in that room can look in the mirror and just say if I do get traded I did what I could this year. Our team won’t make a trade because a player is playing bad let’s put it that way. It will be a trade to either benefit that player or benefit our team.”
One player who isn’t worried about a move is Lowry after Lamb indicated earlier this week he wasn’t looking to move his top scorer.
“I’ve played my whole career as a Bronco and I’d like to finish as a Bronco,” Lowry said. “We’ve been building in the last few years and they’re going to continue to build. I think this season is going to be a stepping stone for hopefully a few more years when they really become contenders. We definitely want to mold the younger guys and show them what it takes to win.”
The win moves Swift Current to 19-20-3-2 on the season and a tie for 6th in the Eastern Conference. They’ll host Prince Albert and Calgary on Friday and Saturday.