Did I mention something earlier today about the Calgary Hitmen powerplay? Thought so.
The Hitmen scored three goals on the powerplay and another on a 3rd period penalty shot from Brandon Kozun for a 6-3 win over a hard-working and determined Broncos team.
The talk going into this one was to be disciplined and not allow the league's best PP to be the difference. It was. The Hitmen went 3/8 on the PP (really 3/6 as Coach Lowry threw out his 4th liners for a couple of late chances).
Just for fun (or punishment) I looked back on the Hitmen's PP vs the Broncos this season: 9/21 in the four game series and 9/17 in the last three meetings. Yikes.
Speaking of powerplays, the Broncos' has gone ice cold. They are 0/18 in the last four games.
Special teams was the difference. Brett Sonne's 5 on 3 PP goal at the 1:00 mark of the third period was the turning point... or as we call it in the post-game show the Best Western Inn and Suites game-shifter.
Former Bronco Kyle Bortis scored once and added three assists to be named the game's first star. When skating out, the former Bronco put his arms up to the fans as to say "where's the love?". I joked with his parents after the game that had I known Kyle was going to showboat a little, we wouldn't have picked him.
Regardless, you can't ignore a four point game.
On the Broncos side, Micheal Stickland scored twice, including a beauty in the 2nd on a nice passing play with Justin Dowling. Eric Doyle scored his 11th of the season in garbage time when his slapper beat G Michael Snider from the blueline with 40 seconds to play.
Huge concern in this one when D John Negrin crashed hard into the end boards when trying to chase down Brandon Kozun on a breakaway in the 3rd period. Negrin threw his glove off immediately and I thought broken wrist.
When he got to his feet he looked to be favouring his leg. In the post-game show Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler confirmed he twisted his back awkwardly when he went into the boards but seemed to be doing fine aside from being sore. His status for tomorrow night in unknown.
Just to hear it's nothing serious was a huge sigh of relief for this team.
The Broncos weren't thrilled with some of the treatment they got on the ice when we went down to ice-level for player interviews.
Matt Tassone was livid on the ice in the third after what he said was a punch to the head he received from Michael Stone behind the play. How he didn't get dimed with a misconduct was beyond me.
Michael Stickland took it one step further when we asked him about it afterwards.
"Yeah (Carson) MacMillan will give you an extra shot, even Postma tonight was playing pretty dirty I thought."
Regardless of what was going on, I thought the Broncos played pretty physical and dished out more than they took.
I would have liked to see a better response though when Kozun went poking after a covered puck in the Broncos crease and appeared to stick G Morgan Clark. Clark came into the game after the Hitmen's 5th goal in the third on 21 shots.
To sum this one up, the Broncos did some really good things. They had Calgary pinned deep in their own zone and confused at times. They out chanced them and outplayed them 5-0n-5 for two periods. In the end, special teams just wasn't so special for the home team
Small victories perhaps. Calgary sweeps the season series 4-0.
I would like to know what team in the Eastern Conference will beat the Hitmen in a best-of-seven series? Anyone?
Time will tell.