HUMBOLDT — Effort has translated into success lately for the Humboldt Broncos.
The team went 2-1 last week. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team beat Notre Dame, 3-2, in overtime; lost 5-2 to a strong Flin Flon squad; and, in its lone road game of the week, beat Melville, 4-1.
“The guys have played well over the past three games,” head coach Scott Barney said. “The effort has been there for all three nights.”
Barney said that even against a veteran Flin Flon team he felt his team played hard. As of Sunday, the Broncos had a 9-5-1-1 record. They sat fifth in the SJHL standings.
The team hits the road this week for a unique road swing. First the Broncos head south to play in Weyburn on Tuesday and Estevan on Wednesday. They then go north to take on Nipawin on Friday and La Ronge on Saturday.
Barney said that “usually good teams can win on the road and hopefully we can get a couple wins here on the road trip going forward.” He said the Broncos want to focus on playing their game and keeping it simple. As well as the games on the ice, the activities off it are also important to a road trip.
“The biggest thing is the bonding,” Barney said. “Getting the guys together on the bus, in the hotels, on the ice. Especially when you spend a long time together, it really builds the character of the group and the camaraderie in the dressing room. That’s a key thing for us, especially with a younger group.”
The Broncos had some strong performances from some of its younger players last week. Sixteen-year-old forward Karter McNarland had at least a goal in each game. He finished the week with four goals and five points in three games. As of Sunday, the Saskatoon product was third on the team in scoring with 15 points – behind Logan Foster’s 22 and Tristan Shewchuk’s 18.
Against Notre Dame, Logan Kurki scored the winning goal in overtime in his debut with the team. The forward, who turns 18 in November and hails from Maple Ridge, B.C., had two points his first night and finished the week with three.
“He’s been playing well for us. He has got a lot of skill and he can really shoot the puck,” Barney said.
The head coach noted that the team will work on developing the finer points of the young man’s game, but expects him to be a great player in Humboldt for years to come and to garner attention from NCAA schools.
The Broncos are now in a busy part of their schedule. This comes after a stint where they played on Oct. 12 and then not again until Oct. 19. Barney said the team used the extra practice time to focus on the Broncos’ systems and how they want to play.
“Just the attention to detail that you sometimes lose when you have a lot of games,” Barney said before last week’s games. “It was good to have because we have a stretch of 15 games in 31 days. It’s good to get those practices in and get the guys back on board in doing things the way we want things done.”
The Broncos Last Week
Tuesday, Oct. 22 in Humboldt
Humboldt 3, Notre Dame 2 OT
Broncos Scorers: Zach McIntyre, Karter McNarland, Logan Kurki
Hounds Scorers: Jake Dale, Braydon Iwaschuk
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 35 saves on 37 shots; Riley Kohonick, Notre Dame, 38 on 41
Notes: In his first game as a Bronco, Kurki scored the game winner in overtime. Notre Dame led 1-0 at the first intermission. McIntyre tied the game in the second period and McNarland put Humboldt up 2-1 in the third. Dale was able to answer for Notre Dame. Kurki had two points in his debut.
Thursday, Oct. 24 in Humboldt
Flin Flon 5, Broncos 2
Broncos Scorers: Karter McNarland, Cody Hough
Bombers Scorers: Easton Haygarth, Alec Malo, Cole Rafuse, Caleb Franklin, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 35 saves on 39 shots; Matt Sanker, Flin Flon, 31 on 33
Notes: Hough’s second of the season put Humboldt up 1-0 in the first period. Flin Flon scored three times in the second and twice in the third.
Saturday, Oct. 26 in Melville
Humboldt 4, Melville 1
Broncos Scorers: Karter McNarland (2), Tristan Shewchuk, Logan Foster
Millionaires Scorers: Jake Spak
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 27 saves on 28 shots; Scott Bird, Melville, 29 on 33
Notes: After Melville opened the game’s scoring, Humboldt scored twice in the first period. Following a scoreless period, the Broncos scored twice more in the third period. McNarland and Shewchuk each had three points. It was the second straight game that former Humboldt midget AA player Dawson Cochrane has served as the backup to Forman. Cochrane has been playing Junior B this season.
The Broncos head south to play Weyburn on Tuesday and Estevan on Wednesday. On the weekend, the team goes north to take on Nipawin on Friday and La Ronge on Saturday.