The Ice led 5-0 into the final minute of the 2nd period before Erik Felde's 14th of the season on a nice solo effort. The Broncos mounted a late comeback in "garbage time" to make it close. Dale Wiese scored twice in the third period while Jan Dalecky and David Steiler added singles to make the score respectable.
Between the pipes, you all seen it. Travis Yonkman was pulled after Kootenay's 2nd goal of the night and Ian Curtis took over. Again, the first shot he had to face changed directions in front of him on the powerplay and the rout was on from there.
I'm not going to recap the action but I will post some general thoughts.
- Where's the atmosphere in our building? Sure the fans have to create something but shouldn't the Broncos as an organization do something to promote fan excitement or involvement? I've been to all 22 WHL rinks so I feel like I can speak with some authority on this matter. Have we given up? Other teams have big promotions or have certain "nights" that bring in large crowds. What about the Grey Cup making an appearance? I see Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Regina all have a Grey Cup appearance in the works.
There is no excitement build-up prior to puck drop unless the public address announcer is throwing a shout out to the Hazlet fans who have come out to cheer Andrew Bailey of the Kootenay Ice. Are we too accommodating? The I-plex has been a pretty inviting place for other teams to come in this year. Where's our edge? For pete sakes, Bailey's mom even sang the national anthem! Great job Terry-Lou. It was probably that or the junior B orchestra that has been busted out a couple of times this season. (taped instremental version of Oh Canada) No offense Cypress Cyclones, just a figure of speech.
Making the I-plex an imposing place to play starts with creating a tough atmosphere for the visitors to cope with and ends with a dominant in your face hockey team.
The Riders have the "13th man" and it makes a difference.
- Injuries are starting to mount. Ryan Molle and Matt Tassone both left the game with undisclosed injuries which isn't good considering the Broncos only dressed 19 players last night. They may have to dip into the system tonight to ice a complete line-up.
- Eric Felde provided a spark as a defenseman last night. It's a position he played to start his junior hockey career with and is comfortable doing it. He also scored his first goal in since an empty netter vs the Saskatoon Blades November 18th. Expect him to play on the back-end tonight as well.
- Spencer McAvoy was behind the bench for the Broncos last night in the absence of Assistant Coach Tim Kehler. Macker bared a striking resemblance to Ice Assistant Coach Kris Knoblauch in the coaching role.
- I notice a lot of fans talking about what we need. Toughness, a stay at home defenseman, etc. Presently I'm not sure this team has showed the willingness to grind out a game and win the little battles. This brand of "Sportscentre Hockey" isn't conducive to a playoff run. As Dean Chynoweth pointed out in our postgame show, " as the season winds down and approaches the playoffs, time and space will continue to be less and less". River hockey simply won't cut it when the going gets tough. Expectations are high and with the Broncos only three points out of 1st place in the East division, maybe all this talk is pre-mature.
- The Brandon Wheat Kings come in tonight. They've been sitting and waiting since last Friday's 7-6 win over the Broncos. The Wheaties haven't played since while the Broncos have played a pair of games in the last week. Keep an eye on super rookie Brayden Schenn tonight. The Wheat King first rounder already looks like a 19 year-old in his rookie season. He's the best 16 year-old player in Western Canada hands down right now. No contest.
- Teddy Bear toss night tonight. Bring your bears!