Jordan Peddle's goal in round nine of the shootout stood up as the winner in Moose Jaw as the Broncos edged Moose Jaw 5-4 to take 7th spot in the Eastern Conference.
The win gives the Broncos a first round match-up with the Brandon Wheat Kings which will begin Friday in Brandon.
The shootout in Moose Jaw as it turns out, was the longest one the Broncos have ever been involved in since their inception in the 05/06 season. That's a span of 42 shootouts.
Both benches were having fun with it. Lots of smiles and laughs and a few glances between the benches gave it an almost exhibition game type-feel.
make no mistake, the Broncos went after the "W". They tied the game on Micheal Stickland's hat-trick goal with just under two minutes to play.
They then outshot the Warriors 9-1 in overtime.
The Broncos fired out their top players in the shootout starting with Hoban, Eakin, Dowling and Novotny.
It was clear to me the Broncos wanted the win, they wanted 7th place and finish as high as they can.
I joked post-game with Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler that the Broncos have secured home-ice advantage should the Broncos and Warriors meet in the Eastern Conference final.
The win also gave the Broncos a third place finish in the east division - the spot I predicted they would finish heading into the season behind powerhouses Brandon and Saskatoon.
The year's record will go into the books at 37-30-1-4. It marks the first time the Broncos have been seven games over .500 all season.
They also finish the month of March with a 4-1-1-1 record.
Cody Eakin finished off the season with a four point night - a goal and three assists. He finishes the season with a team high 91 points and 9th in the WHL's scoring race.
Eakin's 91 points is also the highest number a Bronco has put up since Tyler Redenbach and Jeremy Williams went 1-2 in league scoring with a 105 and 101 points in the 2003/04 season.
As the Broncos will go into the 1st round of playoffs no doubt over-matched by a highly-skilled Wheat Kings hockey club who scored the league's most goals with 321. No team even really challenged 300 goals behind them.
They can score.
The one thing that discourages me a little is the Broncos could potentially open up the first round series Friday night without three of their top nine forwards.
Matt Tassone's season is done. Dillon Wagner continues to rehab a knee injury suffered two weeks ago. Adam Lowry is questionable for the series opener.
I would love to have the Broncos full line-up available to them, sadly it won't be the case.
Underdogs? That's the under-statement of the year.
But, it's the playoffs and as the saying goes...anything is possible.
I have a lot of respect for the Wheat Kings and their coaching staff headed up by Kelly McCrimmon.
Although they paid a high price, the Wheat Kings have a team that is as good as any club in the WHL and will rival the powerhouses in the OHL in Windsor and Barrie.
Kelly Mac pulled off some gutsy moves. The Wheat Kings don't have a weakness. They are built for this season and the playoffs.
The pundits will be picking the Wheat Kings in four...heck, maybe even three.
It's a nothing to lose mentality for the Broncos and an "us against the world" feeling. This being highlighted by no real "home" playoff games in the opening round.
If there is a potential silver lining, it appears the series will actually favor the Broncos with an expected 2-2-1-2 format.
Game six of the series will be played in Regina as per the Bronco "home" game. Game seven (if necessary) will also likely be played at the Brandt Center in Regina.
Here's how the series lays out:
Friday March 19 @ Brandon
Saturday March 20 @ Brandon
Tuesday March 23 @ Regina
Wednesday March 24 @ Regina
Friday March 26 @ Brandon
Monday March 29 @ Regina
Wednesday March 31 @ Regina (tentative)
I was in Regina Friday night and was at Rock Creek Bar and Grill. It was busy after-work Friday atmosphere in the lounge.
We ended up sitting beside three gentleman who had been in the place since the early afternoon. They quickly struck up a conversation.
It wasn't long until we were talking WHL hockey. All three were Pats fans and all three were using me as a bit of a sounding board.
One of the guys has heard our broadcast over the years and was pretty complimentary...or it might have been the eight or nine Rickard's White he had tied into by then!
But, all three said they would buy tickets to the Broncos playoff games at the Brandt Center and said they would support the cause.
I thanked them.
Let's hope these three aren't alone. A few extra bums in the seats would be appreciated by everyone.
I'll be placing a call this week to the folks in Regina about the broadcast set-up in the Brandt Center. I'm assuming we (the Eagle will set up in the 620 CKRM booth but that's not been sorted out yet. It has all the webcast hook-ups. It's a big, palatial space much nicer than the visitors set-up.
Voice of the Pats Rod Pedersen blogged a season synopsis today on the Pats. It's a good read and the link is over on the right.
It takes a lot to muster up something like that. You have to tread lightly. Kudos to him for his openness and candor in the piece.
From experience, those are the toughest things to write.
Sometimes it can get you in trouble, but sometimes things just have to be said.
Apparently he also blogged about our fans rubbing in the fact the Broncos are using the Pats building for the playoffs.
I'll admit, it's definitely a topic of conversation in the city that the Broncos are moving into the Brandt Center.
There's a few smirks going on without question.
I mean what do you expect... it would be the same deal if the roles were reversed. By my take the Broncos biggest rival is Regina over the last few years without question.
My experiences in the Brandt Center have been good. Aside from a few fans trying to start something with me after a game and the odd rat thrown on the ice with my name on it it's been fine. Of course all the animosity is/was fueled by blogs and not from an on-air standpoint.
I like to think I get along with the Regina media folks pretty well. We have gotten to know each other pretty good the last few years that's for sure. Guys like Jonesy and Hodgie at CTV Regina. Rob Vanstone of the Leader Post... Mitchell Blair, Kelly Remple and the likes...
And Gerry Wood is a beauty in the media room down there....
As for the Pats staff... I'm still apologizing profusely for accidentally destroying the phone line in the visitors broadcast booth last trip in there. I called the third period, overtime and the shootout on my cell phone. It was quite the night.
First time for everything I suppose.
I'm getting the sense lately the team could do without the blog for playoffs. They want to handle the info through scbroncos.com and promote it rather than this blog and the radio broadcasts.
It would be a shame though. Most of our fans won't be able to see games or get timely information about fan busses and ticket information.
We will see how the week plays out.......
To make matters worse for the team, they will practice out of the Fairview arena this week leading up to their Thursday departure for Brandon.
Again, not ideal but they will have to make it work.
Here's another one. There's no rooms available at the Canad Inns in Brandon which is attached to the rink. It makes for a great set-up for the visiting team. That's off the table too.
It's going to feel like the playoffs this week with mid-week highs of 13C and 11C in the city. I can't wait.
Have a great Monday....