Sunday, March 04, 2007

November 14th, 2001

Can anyone guess what that date represents? Well if you listened to the broadcast last night you would know it's the last time the Broncos have won in Cranbrook. You can now update to March 3, 2007.

In one of the best Bronco efforts of the season, the boys handed the Kootenay Ice only their 6th regulation loss on home ice this season. The Ice are now 25-6-1-1 playing out of the Cranbrook Rec Plex.

Leading up to the game at the hotel, I didn't really get an overly confident vibe from the team. With that said though they had just skated with the #2 team in the nation the night before in Medicine Hat despite losing 3-0.

Just before face-off, the team welcomed back Geordie Wudrick from the Canada Winter Games. Geordie and team BC lost the bronze medal game 4-3 to Phil Gervais and Team Alberta. I asked Geordie what happened and he said "Gervo's line (Phil Gervais) shut down my line in the game." Gervais is expected to re-join the Broncos Monday.

The Ice scored on their first real chance of the game 4:30 in. Mike Busto came off the point and beat Moir five-hole from the right face-off dot. It was a powerplay goal. Busto's goal was his 20th of the season. It also set the new Ice franchise record for most goals career by an Ice defenseman. I've heard someone say that Busto's shot couldn't break a pane of glass. Somehow he's finding the mark.

But just 46 seconds later, the Broncos tied it on a good effort from Dale Wiese. "Time to break out tonight, I can feel it." That's the words of Dale Wiese about an hour before face-off. Wiese charged in hard behind the Ice goal and stripped goaltender Kris Lazaruk off the puck. He centered it out to Kyle Bortis who had a tap in from there. Game tied 1-1.

The Ice would get their lead back on a Ryan Russell powerplay goal. His first shot was blocked but came right back to him as he quickly fired again to beat a screened Kyle Moir. After one the shots were even 9-9, the score was 2-1 Ice.

All Broncos in the 2nd period folks, one of their best periods of the season. First Levi Nelson tapped home a great feed from Wudrick off the rush on the powerplay. Nelson went hard to the goal and Wudrick lazered a pass right on the tape. Nelson's goal was also his 50th point of the season. 2-2.

Later, after back-to-back-to-back Ice penalties, the Broncos had an extended 5-3 powerplay (about 2:30). After some initial difficulties, Mike Wilson would wrist a hard one by Lazaruk from the top of the circle giving the Broncos a 3-2 lead.

The Ice faithful were fired up at referee Ryan Thompson after that string of penalties against the home team. Those who remember the "Jeff Glass" incident at the Civic Center a couple seasons ago with the Ice would also remember Thompson as the referee that night.

The shots were 17-5 favoring the Broncos in the 2nd period. Kyle Moir had the period off. I can't remember one difficult save in the 2nd period.

Zack Smith would add an insurance marker only 35 seconds into the 3rd after a nice set-up from Daniel Rakos. Smith scored five-hole on Lazaruk giving the Broncos a 4-2 lead. The next 17 minutes featured the Broncos in shutdown mode. It was only with 2:22 left when the Ice pulled the goaltender making it 6-5 did they sustain any pressure. Moir was called upon a few times to make some saves. His best was on Swift Current native Andrew Bailey in close.

The Broncos held on from there, 4-2 winners. A huge win in Cranbrook.

Good job by Kyle Moir who gets the win in his CHL record-tying 229th appearance in the Broncos goal. He's now tied with Jeff Calvert and has a chance to break the record Wednesday night if he gets the start in Regina. I have a feeling Yonks will go against the Pats so Moir can break the mark on home-ice Friday night against the Tigers.

It's funny how things work. Even though the Broncos played the top two teams in the Eastern Conference on the road, they still gained ground in the east division and are much closer to clinching a playoff spot. Here's how the standings look after Saturday night.

Broncos - 61 pts - 6 games remaining
Raiders - 58 pts - 7 games remaining
Blades - 52 pts - 8 games remaining
Warriors 51 pts - 7 games remaining

The trip home was quick as the team unloaded the bus at about 5:30am to wrap up the weekend.
More on Monday.

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