Saturday, March 10, 2007


For Bronco fans, it doesn't get much better.

The largest crowd in the last six years packed the Civic Center last night - fans were turned away at the door for the first time I can remember. Those who missed out, really missed out. Broncos 3 Tigers 2.

Mike Wilson's bank-job from an impossible angle just 1:30 into overtime sent the Bronco faithful into hysteria . It's a win on so many levels.

1. A packed house treated to a great battle between two teams.
2. The other team just happened to be the Medicine Hat Tigers
3. A win over the #1 ranked team in the CHL
4. Two more points to solidify a playoff spot

Granted the Tigers are in cruise control, the Broncos played well especially in the third period while protecting the one-goal lead. If it wasn't for one of the softest penalty calls in a long time, overtime wouldn't have been required. Brennan Bosch took a bump in the corner while protecting the puck with a minute to go and went down in an attempt to draw a penalty - referee Adam Byblow bit. With the goalie pulled and a 6-on-4 man advantage, the Tigers would find the tying goal with 37 seconds to go. Kris Russell, who was great all night, sneaked in and sent the puck home from the side of the net. It was the Tigers only pressure of the third period.

The Tigers sat Darren Helm to give him a break. No injury for Helm, just a night off. Derek Dorsett will miss the first round of playoffs with a broken hand. He sat out the contest.

Tigers goaltender Ryan Holfeld made some big saves, but he would trade all that flash for the one squeaker that snuck between his pad and the post in overtime. The win helped keep the Broncos undefeated record when leading after two periods. They are now a remarkable 21-0.

Great game from Jeremy Schenderling too. His two goals in regulation was a result of working hard all night long. Travis Yonkman made some big saves in the first period. He had David Schlemko looking skyward twice only minutes apart.

The guys were excited to say the least but there was a calm that you could sense. It's the fact the weekend is far from over with games tonight at home vs Brandon and Sunday on the road against Prince Albert.

"Where did that come from?" was the question I asked after seeing Ryan Molle drop the gloves with Shayne Brown. Molle's first ever WHL fight was one-sided to say the least. Ok, Shayne Brown isn't exactly Matt Kassian but Bronco fans didn't seem to mind Molle's "Inglewood Jack" impersonation.

How good is Kris Russell? He not only will win the WHL Defenseman of the Year for a second straight season, he should also garner some attention for Player of the Year too. He has my vote.

So here's how it looks in the East division. Moose Jaw beat Regina in a shootout, Prince Albert lost in Brandon while Saskatoon kept their hopes alive with a win in Lethbridge.

Broncos 63 pts - four games remaining
Raiders 58 pts - four games remaining
Warriors 57 pts - four games remaining
Blades 54 pts - five games remaining

To be honest, the Warriors deserve to make the playoffs just based on their play down the stretch. Sure they didn't do themselves any favors earlier in the season but they are now playing their best hockey of the season while the Raiders have hit a big time slump (1 win in their last seven games).

Warriors defenseman and Swift Current native Cody Thoring is doing better. The update on him is that the fears of a back/vertebrae injury have been alleviated. He will need time to recover from back and stomach muscle pulls and a shifted pelvic bone injury. He will remain in hospital for the time being. Thoring was hurt last Friday night after a crunching check into the boards from Aaron Boogaard of the Tri-City Americans.

What will the Broncos do for an encore? I guess we'll find out tonight.

Broncos and Wheat Kings tonight from the Civic Center. Face-off at 7:30pm, action on the Eagle 94.1 FM begins at 7pm. Anaheim Ducks forward Travis Moen will join us on the phone for a chat in the pre-game show.

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