A four-goal 2nd period outburst powered the Broncos past the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-3 in the first game after the Christmas break.
Matt Tassone scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season (a career high) and added an assist to hand the Tigers only their 3rd loss in regulation this season on home ice.
Keegan Dansereau scored a goal and added two assists while Dillon Wagner and Cody Eakin added singles. For Eakin it was his fourth game in a row with a goal since coming back from injury. His goal midway through the third put the Broncos up 5-2. Josh Koper scored on a penalty shot late in the third to round out the scoring.
Mark Guggenberger was solid again; making 34 saves in the win.
A strange occurrence in this one involving the goaltenders… I’ve never seen it before. Guggenberger went to the bench at the radio time-out in the 2nd period but apparently wasn’t allowed to do that. The Broncos had two choices coming out of the minute break: Take a penalty or have Guggenberger replaced. Travis Yonkman sprung into action and played 1:28 in the 2nd period before a stoppage of play allowed Guggenberger to get back in. For his efforts Yonkman made one save. Strange.
The Broncos got a strong effort from the line of Wagner/Toulmin/Brown. They lead the forecheck on a weakened Tigers defense without Matt McCue. Earlier, the 20 year-old defenseman signed an AHL deal with Anaheim and will not be returning for the Tigers. Medicine Hat dressed five defenseman and the Broncos plan going in was to get on them.
The Tigers were missing two big parts up-front with both Tyler Ennis and Zdenek Okal away at World Juniors. Travis Dunstall also sat the game out with a shoulder injury.
The Broncos have now won both meetings this season against Medicine Hat with two more games remaining in the season series January 5th (Swift Current) and January 10th (MH).
A few personal observations….
- Tigers fans sure don’t get excited like they used to a couple years ago. Even the in-stand announcer’s attempt of “Go Tigers Go” was met with shrugs of indifference. Tiger fans have been spoiled with some good teams over the years. It takes a lot for them to get excited. The fans used to be a major factor in the building. Now, they’re merely a side note.
- Tonight was the first time the Broncos have played in the ‘Hat all season. Medicine Hat was almost a 2nd home for the Broncos the last few years when they battled eight times a season and then in back-to-back playoff match-ups as Central division rivals. The rivalry has lost its lustre a little.
- Tigers’ acting Head Coach Shaun Clousten is a good interview. I thought he had some really interesting things to say in our pre-game interview. It may be the first time we’ve spoken but it won’t be the last.
- The Broncos have a couple of 15 year-olds seeing what the WHL is all about. 2nd round pick G Austin Smith and 4th round pick Adam Lowry from this past summer’s bantam draft are spending some time with the team during a break in action with their teams. Lowry is the son of Hitmen Head Coach Dave Lowry.