Broncos and Blades Battle…Again
It’s meeting three of four over the course of eight days between the Broncos and Blades as the teams meet tonight at Credit Union Center.
The Broncos won their sixth in a row last night with a 4-3 shootout win over the Warriors. The Broncos outworked the Warriors for two periods but a 1-1 tie was all they had to show for it. The Warriors finally showed up in the third after realizing they could win this one. They upped their tempo and work ethic in the third and overtime.
The Broncos tied it 3-3 on the powerplay thanks to “The curse of Joey Perricone” ( more on that over at www.ryanswitzer.blogspot.com today). A head high slapper from Erik Felde at the point blasted off the end glass and bounced back over the Warriors goal off Perricone and into the net with some help from David Stieler.
Perricone hasn’t played his best against the Broncos over his four- year career. It would be wise if the Warriors coaching staff maybe gave back-up Todd Mathews a look in the next meeting February 15th. Head Coach Dave Hunchak commented in our pre-game show that he (Perricone) needs to be better than how he’s played lately. I thought he was pretty good last night but didn’t get a favourable bounce off the end glass…. Curse!
“I think we will have to take a sacrificial chicken to center-ice or something to break this hex against the Broncos” was the comment Hunchak gave to the Moose Jaw Times Herald post-game. He must be talking about the bounce because in my opinion the Broncos have been the better team in the four meetings head-to-head and are full marks for their four wins. The games have been close – three have been to overtime. Eventually you have to think it will go the Warriors way soon. I also think the Broncos have yet to see the Warriors “A” game. They’re running out of chances though.
* The Broncos chase their 7th straight win tonight. A win would match their last seven game win streak set back in January of 2000.
* Commissioner Ron Robison got a big cheer in the pre-game ceremony from the 2700 plus Bronco fans when he announced the Broncos are safe and sound for years to come in the WHL thanks to the commitment by the city and the fans with the renovation project.
* How ‘bout that crowd last night? Biggest of the year. They’re getting bigger and louder and the guys sitting behind me on the bus are noticing and loving it. Keep it up.
* Where’s the beef? The Broncos are now a combined 8-2 against division rivals Regina and Moose Jaw. So far speed and skill is winning out over bigger, more physical teams. Granted six of those eight wins have come in overtime or a shootout. The record 2-2 in regulation time.
* I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the WHL webcast archive game featuring the Pats/Blades from last night. Wow. Our fans love when Regina gets their lunch fed to them almost more so than a Broncos win. Last night was a Broncos fan delight on both accounts. What a melee last night which resulted in several scraps throughout the game, fans getting ejected, players trying to get at fans near the bench and of course the obligatory line brawl with 1:04 to play. The WHL Head Office will finally be able to afford that new office furniture they’ve been eyeing up. Expect at least a fine of a grand for both teams after their 5th multiple fight situation. Highly entertaining stuff out of Regina last night. The Broncos could benefit tonight from a couple suspensions on the Blades side tonight. We will find out when we arrive at the CUC later.
*No one should mess with Garret Klotz. But here is some advice to one of the toughest players in the league: At least try to act like you’ve won a fight before. Klotz took his time to showboat and do some posing en-route to the penalty box after KO’ing Josh Elder in a first period scrap. Same applies to Frazier Mclaren of the Warriors. At least pretend that you’ve done it before fellas.
* The latest WHL writer’s poll is out… the Broncos rank of 14th in the league is laughable. It remains unchanged over last week according to the scribes across the WHL. 14th? C’mon guys and gals. Are you implying the Broncos are presently playing like a team in the bottom third of the league? 18 sports writers across the WHL compile their rankings into a weekly poll. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, a few picked the Blades at the beginning of the season to contend for the east division crown. (stats check: Blades are 30 pts back of Regina)
* Not sure on the status of 20 year-old defenseman Michael Wilson. He will be out for a stretch after taking a check from behind from Frazer Mclaren in the opening minute of last night’s game. He didn’t make the trip to Saskatoon. I didn’t see the hit in the near corner to our broadcast right. The people I’ve asked feel it was blatantly from behind and in a dangerous position. If the league agrees Mclaren will be watching tonight’s game against Brandon from the stands.
* We’re on the air shortly after 6:30pm tonight from Saskatoon. WHL Commissioner Ron Robison will be our guest in a taped interview from last night. Play-by-play at 7:05pm.