Interview with Broncos D Dillon Heatherington (Download)
The Swift Current Broncos are staying positive as they get set for their first home playoff games in four years.
While the Broncos find themselves in a 2-0 hole in their first round best of seven series against Calgary, they felt good about the way they played in game 2. Swift Current out-shot Calgary 40-23 in a 3-1 loss.
Game 3 is Monday night at the Credit Union iPlex.
“We made some adjustments to combat their offence and our guys responded and played very well,” said Broncos Assistant Coach Jamie Heward. “Unfortunately we had three big turnovers and that led to three goals.”
Heward did see room for them to create some better scoring chances.
“We tried to funnel as many pucks as we could to the front of the net,” Heward noted. “I just don’t know if we got as many quality pucks to the net as we would have wanted to. I thought a lot of times when we did get quality scoring chances we didn’t do enough to bear down.”
The dressing room isn’t getting down even though they would now have to win four out of five games to advance to the next round. For an inexperienced roster with only three active guys who had even played a playoff game before this series, the first two games taught them a lot.
“Even though we didn’t get the wins that we wanted I feel confident in our team,” said defenceman Dillon Heatherington. “We learned a lot in those two games, learned their systems, developed good habits and I think that will carry on into the next two home games against them.”
It’s the first opportunity any of the current Broncos have had to play a playoff game at the Credit Union iPlex. The last time the team was in the playoffs they had to play their home games in Regina due to the World Women’s Curling Championship. Heatherington is looking forward to the lift their fans will give them.
“You find guys a lot more positive and willing to sacrifice themselves for the better of the team with the crowd behind them,” Heatherington added. “The crowd notices the big goals but they also notice the little things like blocking shots and getting pucks out. It’s a real emotional boost after you get a cheer for doing something simple like that.”
The Broncos went 20-12-2-2 at home in the regular season including 2-0 against Calgary.
It’s almost a must win game for Swift Current as they can’t afford to get down 3-0 in the series. That said, the Broncos don’t want to make too many changes in how they played in game 2 when they suit up for game 3.
“We played well,” Heward said. “We have to understand that if we play that way we’re going to get scoring chances, we’re going to get opportunities and then it’s up to the guys to fulfil that.”
Swift Current will be looking for a bounce-back from goaltender Eetu Laurikainen as he was outplayed by Calgary’s Chris Driedger over the first two games. Driedger has a 0.912 save percentage to 0.852 for Laurikainen. The Finnish import goaltender hasn’t had a long bad stretch of hockey all season so the odds are with him returning to form on home ice.
Tickets are on sale for both game 3 on Monday and game 4 on Tuesday. You can get them at the Stable in the Credit Union iPlex or online at scbroncos.com.
You can also hear both games on The Eagle 94.1 with The New Pioneer Co-op Home Centre Broncos Hockey at 6:30pm.