Saturday, February 10, 2007

Raiders to the Rescue

There we go . . . that's more like it.

For the 5th time this season the Broncos knocked off the Raiders, this time with a 3-2 victory up at the Art Hauser Center. It was a good effort by our boys who came out and played a good first period. The first two goals came 1:03 apart on a 5-on-3 then a 5-on-4 powerplay. An Eric Doyle point shot was tipped home nicely by Kyle Bortis parked in front of the Raiders goal. Then, on the 5-on-4, the Kyle Bortis shot was rebounded out to David Stieler who would put it home for the early two-goal lead.

The Raiders didn't generate much 5-on-5 but did have their chances on the powerplay. They would make it 2-1 midway through the 2nd on a PP goal from Ryan Depape who deflected a Ryan McDonald point-shot. Just 1:36 later the Broncos restored the two-goal advatage off a 2-on-2 rush. Jeremy Schenderling's shot would generate a rebound to Levi Nelson who went hard to the net to put it home. 3-1 Broncos through 40 minutes.

The Broncos played a nice first half of the third period giving Prince Albert only one scoring chance by my count. Penalties though would give the Raiders some life with about 8 minutes to go. First Jeremy Schenderling's 2 for hooking and 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct would give the Raiders a lengthy man advantage. Schenderling turned over the puck on a Broncos PP and was forced to hook his man up. Schendo was tagged with another one after giving it to referee Graham Skilliter. Jeremy was upset after a non-call when he ate a high stick earlier in the play that cut his lip. Later on, a Myles Rumsey cross-checking call gave PA a two-man advantage for nearly a minute. That's when Ryan Mcdonald would blast home the Raiders 2nd goal.

It was hold on time after that as the Broncos still had 1:49 to kill in Rumsey's penalty with time winding down in the third. No other real scoring chances came as the Broncos held on for the 3-2 win - ending a six game slide and picking up their first regulation road win since December 6th in, of course, Prince Albert.
As I said on the broadcast a few times "he's back!" referring to the recent play of Kyle Moir. He was good again in goal and didn't have to be spectacular because of a nice defensive effort. He just did his job, made some saves from in tight and long range with no rebounds.

The boys were excited after the win - that was nice to see. But it was a controlled excitement, they know it's only one win and there's no reason to throw a parade. Kyle Bortis was named the game's first star and picked up the "extra steak sandwich" at the post game meal.

The two-man referee system is driving me nuts! Last night we saw every potential scenario. 5-on-5, 5-on-4, 4-on-4, 4-on-3 and 3-on-3. I don't recall seeing a lot of 3-on-3 during regulation. I had a nice chat with both referees Graham Skilliter and Trevor Hricuik. As always I left saying "keep the penalties to a minimum." As always, they didn't listen. They did do a good job last night in what was fairly well-called game.

Brady Leavold (sick) didn't make the trip, Matt Tassone (knee), and Paul Postma (groin) didn't play. The Broncos will be looking to bring up a couple more young players with the departure of Phil Gervais and Geordie Wudrick to the Canada Winter Games in the Yukon.

In other WHL news, the Vancouver Giants have lost spark plug forward Garret Hunt for maybe the rest of the season with a broken leg. He missed in a body-check attempt last night vs Kamloops and ran himself hard into the corner boards. "You live by the sword, you die by the sword" is a fitting quote here. Quite the last couple minutes in that game with a line brawl and several scraps leading to game misconducts. Both teams will likely be fined for their actions.

Rene Lemire's head coaching debut with the Warriors strarted with a loss. Moose Jaw lost a tight one in Medicine Hat 4-2. The teams were tied 2-2 in the third before the Tigers scored the go-ahead goal. Moose Jaw is now 12 points out of a playoff spot and do not have a favorable schedule down the stretch. Of their 18 games remaining, four are against Regina and three against Brandon. Also they continue on the road this weekend with games in Lethbridge (tonight) and Kootenay (Sunday).

The Prince Albert Raiders now hit the road for three games beginning Tuesday in Medicine Hat, Wednesday in Red Deer and Friday in Swift Current. The Broncos and Raiders now sit tied for third in the east division, Prince Albert does have a game-in-hand.

More later this weekend,

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