Just when you think this team has hit a funk which appears to be setting in, they go ahead and surprise me - big time!
The powerplay looked very good against Brandon as it led the way en-route to a big 6-4 win over the division leading Brandon Wheat Kings. Jeremy Schenderling had a HUGE night. That was great to see. Schendo has been taking some heat from fans but tonight his three goals, all on the powerplay hopefully sparks the 20 year-old forward. Anything shy of 25 goals this season would be deemed disappointing. He has some work to do. You add to that Levi Nelson's two goals and two helpers and some of the big players expected to produce this season just had their biggest nights of the year. One could say career maybe??
But the unsung hero in all of this was Brady Leavold. His shorthanded goal in the midst of another penalty killing disaster really sparked his team back into the game. His goal tied the game 3-3 and allowed the Broncos to weather the storm after surrendering three goals on the PK.
Can I ask what is up with the penalty kill lately? That's 8 goals against on the PK in the last two games. The Broncos' powerplay had the pk's back tonight - that was a welcomed change.
Ryan Agar? Are you kidding me? In the two man system he called EVERYTHING. Even referee counterpart Mark MacIsaac grabbed a front row seat for the Agar Show. MacIsaac took the night off as Agar called all but one of the 15 powerplays. I was introduced to him before the game. Nice guy, he's young and feeling his way through the WHL. It doesn't help when you have Brandon's head coach and GM Kelly Macrimmon in your ear all night long. He is a master at influencing the officiating. I asked him about it during "Behind the Bench" during the broadcast's pre-game show. He said with a smirk "Jon, I have no idea what your talking about, you must have put something funny in your coffee tonight to say something like that." Truth is Kelly is good at it and even though he doesn't admit it, it DOES play on these young WHL officials. For the record, Kelly is one of the best coaches to talk to in the WHL. He always gives you something. He enjoys it and gets creative and I appreciate that.
Thanks to Dave Hunchak for plugging the "Keen's Korner" blog tonight in the coaches show. We had a great back and forth conversation tonight about talking to referees and why the Broncos' coaching staff doesn't do it more. I've said this many times "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" in the WHL. Brent Sutter and Kelly Macrimmon are the best at it. In fact I think a game between those two teams once took 4 hours and 34 minutes because of all the conversations between coach and referee! I just wish Dean and Dave had a bit more to say when things are turning sour on the officiating front. It's not their style and that's fine.
Alright, a new day, a new challenge. The Regina Pats fresh off a convincing 3-0 win over Red Deer Saturday are tonight's opponents at the Civic Center. The Pats have won the two previous meetings 5-2 and 6-2. The PK will have to be better than it has been and the Broncos have to play just as inspired as they did tonight. Too many times it seems the guys can't put back-to-back good efforts together and the rollercoaster ride rolls on.
Good win tonight, I'll post a weekend recap Monday. Feel free to leave a comment or two,