The Broncos arrived back in Swift Current in the late afternoon following the trek overnight from Chilliwack with a brief stop in Golden, B.C. for a bus driver change.
Mark Guggenberger shut the door last night in Chilliwack to lead the Broncos to a 3-0 win over the Bruins and to post a solid 4-2 record on the six-game swing into the Christmas break.
That was Guggenberger’s reaction when I told him afterwards the Bruins have never scored against the Broncos in their three-season history. Guggenberger has been responsible for two of the three Bronco shutouts.
The Bruins came out of the gates hard knowing the Broncos were playing the last game of long swing. ‘Berger weathered the storm. It was the 2nd storm the Broncos faced on the day, the other being on the way from Vancouver to the ‘Wack. What’s usually a little over an hour’s drive turned into three with road conditions and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Cody Eakin added his third goal in as many games to open the scoring, tipping home an Andrew Hewett wrister from well out. It was Hewett’s first ever WHL point.
D.D.T. went to work in the 2nd getting goals from Keegan Dansereau on the PP and then Matt Tassone on a nice looking three-way passing play between the line. Justin Dowling finished the night with two assists.
‘Berger made a few more saves in the third to preserve the shutout. It was the 2nd shutout the Broncos have posted on the season and 7th time the Bruins have been blanked on the season.
Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler really thought the story of the game was the back-end and goaltending. Without Spencer McAvoy and Eric Doyle because of injury, a younger crew played well with James Martin, Andrew Hewett and Jordan Evans logging more minutes than usual.
That ends the Broncos longest swing of the season. In total, 48 hours on the bus, nasty roads, a freezer full of ice bags, a busload of Christmas presents and a 4th place spot in the 12 team Eastern Conference after the first half of the season. Not bad.
A few closing thoughts:
- Last night’s game could have been dubbed the Band-Aid Bowl, or the Trainers Table Tournament of Champions. No two teams in the league have missed more players due to injury this season. Bruins Head Coach Jim Hillier agreed in the pre-game coaches show that no one outside the two teams really care. They’re your problem, not anyone elses.
- Cody Eakin has been named to the CHL Top Prospects Game. The Broncos forward will play in the annual game featuring some of the brightest prospects for the NHL Draft this summer. The game will go in Oshawa. More on that in the coming days.
- Denied access. I was a bit puzzled last night in Chilliwack when I was denied onto an elevator because of my choice of coffee. Yes, coffee discrimination. Being an hour later than normal to arrive, I was scrambling around getting interviews done. I found the media area, grabbed a Tim Horton’s coffee, some game notes and headed for the broadcast area. The elevator operator told me I couldn’t go up with that in my hand. At first I thought it was a joke, I laughed. Then he repeated, “Sir, I can’t let you up there with that in your hand, would you kindly dispose of it.”
Turns out Van Houtte coffee is sold in the upper concourse and is the only coffee supplier to the building under contract. Ok, whatever. That’s fine.
One of the nice game staff took me around the corner, gave me an unmarked cup to pour my coffee in so I could proceed without incident. Weird. But I appreciate the help from the woman who referred to me as “dear”.
- In all the excitement of the road trip finale, I forgot to wish Tim Kehler good luck in the post-game coaches show. He won’t be back immediately after the break as he guides Team Pacific at the World U-17 Championships in Port Alberni. He’s got a great team put together. They will have two offensive dynamos up-front in Jordan Weal (Regina Pats) and Brett Connolly (Prince George). Good luck Tim.
- Also good luck to Christian Magnus. He will represent Team West at the tournament.
- Special thanks to my colleagues who helped me out on the road. A.J. Jakubec, have fun in Texas. Ronny in PG, tell your bus driver to pull over, you need some extra hours off this summer. Regan in Kelowna thanks for the ten minute Starbucks break, Kirk in Kamloops – great arm at the end of the game to launch that teddy bear. Thanks for you’re interest in WHL This Week. Dave in Vancouver, enjoy a “pretty” good hockey club in the 2nd half. I mean handsome… haha. Randy in Chilliwack, thanks for the highways update. Great tan by the way and congrats to you and Mikayla.
I’m off work now until the Broncos get back on the ice December 27th in Medicine Hat. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!