Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year Rings in With Loss

The Broncos just couldn't put it together for a third straight win in Saskatoon. Instead the leagues hottest team in the Saskatoon Blades have now won seven straight contests.

The first period really told the story. Although scoring chances were in favor of the Broncos, they found themselves down 2-0 through 20 minutes after the Blades scored two goals within a minute late in the period.

Garrett Zemlak played strong throughout the game in goal for the Blades for the 5-2 win.

Injuries are starting to be a bit of a concern for the Broncos. With Brady Leavold out with sickness, Kyle Bortis suffered an ankle injury against the Blades after crashing feet first into the end boards. His status for Friday night's game against the Regina Pats is unknown. R.J. Larochelle missed the game as well with a hand injury sustained in that fight with Chris Stevens Saturday night. He should be ready for Friday night but no guarantees. Also, Daniel Rakos remains at the World Junior Championships in Sweden with the Czech Republic.

Broncos Assistant Coach Dave Hunchak takes over the head coaching duties this upcoming weekend with Dean Chynoweth away taking care of some General Manager duties.

I always joke around with Hunch about his perfect .1000 career WHL coaching percentage. He's 4-0 when filling in for Chynoweth. He doesn't pay much attention to it and always shrugs it off. He may have the best win percentage in WHL history but he still has one more win to go to match my 5-0 mark in the Black/White Intersqaud game!

While away Chynoweth will head west to check out some of the list players including goaltender Ian Curtis and forward Clayton Cumiskey who both play in the BCHL.

He will also check in with Riley Nash. The Broncos 3rd round bantam pick from three years ago. The 17 year-old has balked at coming to Swift Current in the past. Word is he wants to play at home with the Kamloops Blazers or will pursue the college route. Nash is putting up some big numbers in BC Junior "A" at Salmon Arm.

Nash should realize that he could be in Swift Current for the start of something special in the future with the Broncos. With all the up and coming talent and a strong core of 17 and 18 year-olds the Broncos will be a WHL championship contender very soon. Nash would compliment that group very nicely. Instead, he's underachieving playing in the inferior BCHL.

Nash has never ruled out the Broncos and I'm hoping he comes around. He did meet up with the Broncos two seasons ago when the Broncos played in Kamloops. But the fact he didn't even attend training camp this year may speak volumes.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm really excited for the future of this team. I would however like to see some of the prospects get a call-up at some point this season. It would be great to see players like Cody Eakin, Jordan Mistelbacher, Ian Curtis, Justin Dowling, Brad Hoban, Clayton Cumiskey and others make their WHL debut at some point this season.

We'll see what the New Year brings . . .

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