It’s do or die tonight for the Broncos. They have no choice but to win or their season comes to an end. With that said, the team has been able to stay loose and ready despite all that has happened in this series. All they can afford to focus on for now is game 5. Meanwhile, Calgary wants to wrap this series up ASAP and avoid a trip to Swift Current for game 6. I caught up with Daniel Dale of the Broncos and Hitmen Captain Cody Sylvester at the rink during the morning skate today… at the same time as every other media person in the city of Calgary was jammed into the media room to watch the Iginla press conference. It was kind of a surreal morning.
Daniel Dale Interview (Download)
Cody Sylvester Interview (Download)
Here is my game 5 preview for Swift Current Online:
The season is on the line for the Swift Current Broncos.
Down 3-1 to the Hitmen in their first round best of seven series, the Broncos are on the brink of elimination heading into game 5 on Thursday night in Calgary.
Three out of four games in the series have gone to overtime. The Broncos have an opportunity to win every night and still find themselves in a big hole.
“We’ve had a chance to win every game but we haven’t,” said Broncos forward Daniel Dale. “You can’t really take any happiness out of that. We are playing good but we should be playing good. It’s playoffs… you don’t have a second chance.”
While Swift Current is generally happy with the way they’ve played, they have to find a way to get just a little bit more out of every player.
“I think you just take a look at yourself,” Dale said. “Everyone is doing some things good and some things they could be doing better. Those things that you could be doing better you really just have to focus and do it. If it’s getting pucks along the wall, getting shots, hits… whatever it is you just individually have to up your game in whatever areas that you can and that will bring our team game up.”
The Hitmen want to close the series out rather than having to go back to Swift Current for a potential game 6. They know that won’t be an easy task.
“The fourth game in the series is always the hardest one to win,” said Hitmen Captain Cody Sylvester. “Their backs are against the wall and they’re in dire need to win a game. We know they’re going to come out with a big push and work hard for sixty minutes. We’re going to come prepared.”
It has been tougher and tougher to score goals as the series has progressed. The teams combined to score 11 times in the first game, 4 times in the second and third, and only once in in a very tight fourth game.
“You learn about the other team,” Sylvester noted. “Their tendencies, what they do on the ice, you watch video… I think that’s why the series is so tight and the goals are minimal right now. If we want to score goals we’ve got to get pucks on net and get traffic in front of their goalie.”
Sylvester, Brady Brassart and Broncos Captain Adam Lowry are tied for the series lead in goals with 3 each.
The Broncos have remained positive and optimistic despite the controversial goal that cost them game 4. The WHL admitted their officials missed a glove pass on the overtime winner in that game. Losing that way left the Broncos in a foul mood at the time.
“I’ve never been so angry at a group of officials in my life,” Dale said. “It was just one of those things where they missed the call… you’ve just got to put it in the back if your head, take some of the anger and frustration and use it as energy for tonight.”
Dale has been playing his best hockey of the season during the playoffs. He feels well suited to the style of game.
“Playoffs is the kind of game that’s going to be tailored to a guy like me,” Dale added. “Just skate around, create energy, hit… do whatever you can to help the team. This is my game out here, being physical, and I’ve been able to capitalize on that.”
You can hear game 5 on The Eagle 94.1 with The New Pioneer Co-op Home Centre Broncos Hockey at 6:30pm.
If the Broncos win they would force game 6 in Swift Current on Saturday night.