HUMBOLDT — A three-goal third period propelled the Humboldt Broncos to a big 6-1 victory over Melville on Saturday night.
The win halted a five-game losing streak for the Broncos. It also improved the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League squad’s record to 16-13-3-2. As of Sunday, the Broncos sat sixth in the SJHL standings.
The club wraps up the 2019 portion of its season with a pair of weekday games. The Broncos host SJHL-leading Battlefords on Tuesday and play in North Battleford on Wednesday. The 27-6-2-0 North Stars are the defending league champs. They are led by Humboldt product Brayden Klimosko, who played for and was an assistant coach for the Broncos.
Against Melville last week, in front of 849, the Humboldt team took a 1-0 lead on a Braiden Koran power play goal. In the second session, the Broncos scored two more power play goals en route to outscoring the visiting Millionaires, 3-1, in the period. The hosts capped the contest by scoring two more goals in the third.
“I thought the guys came out to compete hard for 60 minutes and battled hard as a team,” head coach Scott Barney said. “We found a way to capitalize on our power play. When your specials teams are going – your [penalty kill] and your PP – it can win you games.”
Humboldt scored five goals with the man advantage in 11 opportunities. The Broncos’ penalty kill thwarted all but one of Melville’s nine powerplay chances.
The Broncos received a strong performance in net from Brett Mirwald. The 16-year-old affiliated player turned away 46 of the 47 shots he faced. Mirwald plays for his hometown Saskatoon Blazers and was a 2018 SJHL Draft pick of the Broncos.
“He had a great game,” Barney said. “He gave the guys confidence. He is one of the best goalies in midget hockey.”
Koran and Logan Foster each scored two goals for the Broncos. Foster recorded the 100th point of his SJHL career. Koran’s first goal sent fake fur a’ flying as it was Teddy Bear Toss night. The event supports the Humboldt District Hospital Foundation.
Before beating the Millionaires, the Broncos suffered a tough loss to the Flin Flon Bombers on Thursday. Humboldt rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to hold a 4-3 lead going into the third period. Flin Flon scored twice in the final frame to take a 5-4 win.
“I thought we played well and deserved a better fate,” Humboldt assistant coach Curtis Toneff said. “We failed to clear out the front of the net and have our checks accounted for on a few of the goals and it cost us the game.”
Barney returned to lead the bench on Saturday after serving as an assistant coach for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.
At the prestigious event, Dec. 7-15, in Dawson Creek, B.C., Team Canada West went 1-3. It beat Russia, 1-0, in a shootout but fell to the United States, 3-2; Canada East, 5-1; and the Czech Republic, 4-3. In the World Junior A Hockey Challenge, Team Canada East fell to Russia, 2-1, in the finals.
The Broncos last week
Thursday, Dec. 12 in Humboldt
Flin Flon 5, Humboldt 4
Broncos Scorers: Max Gudnason, Tristan Shewchuk, Logan Foster, Braiden Koran
Bombers Scorers: Mason Martin, Alec Malo, Cole Rafuse, Billy Klymchuk, Tristan Lemyre
Goalies: Dawson Cochrane, Humboldt, 36 saves on 41 shots; Jacob Delorme, Flin Flon, 40 on 44
Notes: Flin Flon led 2-0 in the first period before the Broncos rallied to make it 2-2 at the first intermission. After Flin Flon took a 3-2 lead in the second period, Humboldt scored twice to take a 4-3 lead. The Bombers scored twice in the third to escape with the win. Cochrane is a former Humboldt AA player who is playing with the Saskatoon Royals Junior B team this season.
Saturday, Dec. 14 in Humboldt
Humboldt 6, Melville 1
Broncos Scorers: Logan Foster (2), Braiden Koran (2), Jackson Bohan, Doug Scott
Millionaires Scorer: Max McPeak
Goalies: Brett Mirwald, Humoldt, 46 saves on 47 shots; Berk Berkeliev, Melville, 45 on 51
Notes: The Broncos scored five powerplay goals on 11 opportunities. Humboldt killed off eight of Melfort’s nine powerplays. Foster, Scott, and Karter McNarland each recorded three points. Mirwald is a 16-year-old affiliated player from the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers.
The Broncos (16-13-3-2) wrap up the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule by hosting league-leading Battlefords (27-5-2-0) on Tuesday. The teams play each other again on Wednesday in North Battleford.