Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chalk One Up for the Good Guys

The drought stops here.

For the first time since 2004, the Broncos have a home ice playoff win - a win in dramatic double overtime fashion.

This unbelievable series is tied 2-2.

A Dale Wiese centering feed bounced off the Pats Logan Pyett and behind Linden Rowat for the game winner just shy of eight minutes into double overtime.

Four years of home-ice playoff frustration released by the near-capacity crowd. They erupted almost uncontrollably, blowing the roof off the newly renovated building.

Afterwards, there was no post-game media scrum trash-talk, no reference to horses, no player holding court to slight the opposition. Just jubilation and respect for what was another hard playoff battle.

"It's a great feeling, it's a great feeling. It's a mixture of so many emotions. You feel so great for the kids when you see their elation on the bench and the big scrum by the net. It's part relief. To go down 3-1, I don't think anyone would say it, but that was a must win on home ice." - Assistant Coach Tim Kehler

Zack Smith initially got credit for the goal but admitted in the post-game show that it belonged to his linemate.

"I'd like to think I had a little bit to do with it driving hard to the net... I was just going to the net and (Logan) Pyett was between me and the puck and I went to hit it but it went off his skate and into the net. Dale Wiese just did a great job of getting the puck to the net."

Although I would never say it on-air, it appeared all was lost for the Broncos early in this one. Down 3-1 after more powerplay success for the Pats a lack discipline and the apparent loss of Bretton Stamler for the game - it all added up to a 3-1 Pats lead in the best-of-seven series in my head.

The Broncos seemed in disarray. Down another defenseman and with one in the penalty box, 16 year-old D Joel Rogers had his first taste of this series on the penalty kill. Talk about jumping into the fire.

Stamler's return in the 2nd period seemed to spark the team.

Geordie Wudrick's powerplay goal midway through the 3rd period put the game to a 4-4 and eventually into overtime.

"The save of the series" is how Pats broadcaster Rod Pedersen described a remarkable stick paddle save from Travis Yonkman on Pats sniper Jordan Eberle in the first overtime. Eberle seemingly had the empty net to shoot at before a desperate Yonkman came across with the stick paddle. A road hockey save at it's finest circa 1992 on Foley Crescent. Make that Bantry street for Pats Assistant Coach Todd Strueby. He will know that means.

This series is getting better with every game. It IS the best series of the opening round, and everyone around the league is watching.

Game five tomorrow night back at the Brandt Center.

Other notes...

- The Broncos have been outscored 9-4 on the PP this series but have a 10-4 even strength goal advantage.

- While playoff crowds dwindle around the WHL this post-season, the same cannot be said for Swift Current. Another 2550 in the building for this contest means playoff crowds are up 29.9% this year compared to games three and four against the Pats in the '07 playoffs

Back to work this morning.... with all that adrenaline going from the double OT thriller,I laid in bed probably 'till 2am before falling asleep. It makes for a tough 4:30am wake-up call to do it all again for the morning sports / morning show.

But... it sure is a lot easier after a win.

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