Humboldt Broncos among teams in ‘dogfight’ for top spot

HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt Broncos don’t mind capping the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) season against some of the top teams.

Last week the Broncos went 0-2-1-0 while taking on second-place Kindersley and fourth-place Melfort, who they earned a point against in an overtime loss.

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This week the team faces Kindersley on the road on Friday and hosts fifth-place Battlesfords on Saturday to complete its regular-season schedule.

“You want to play the best teams to make yourself better,” Humboldt head coach Scott Barney said. “Sometimes when you are playing a little lower, you get into different habits and things that you get away from when you are playing the top teams. I think it is good for us to keep these habits going forward.”

The Broncos enter this week sitting in sixth place in the SJHL. Humboldt has a 34-18-3-1 record and 72 points in the standings. Only four points – two wins – separate the first-place Nipawin Hawks (76 points) and Humboldt. The Flin Flon Bombers sit in seventh with 65 points.

“You look at our standings and anywhere one through seven, it’s a dogfight,” Barney said. “I think it’s good for the league, good for the players, and good for the fans. You can catch any game from the team that’s in first place to a team that’s at the bottom, and it’s going to be a good hockey game. I think that shows how deep the league is this year.”

Last Friday night the Broncos fought their way back against Melfort. In the third period, Humboldt trailed 4-2. The Broncos rallied to knot the contest at 4-4, forcing overtime and earning a point in the standings. The Mustangs were able to get the OT win.

When asked about the Broncos’ comeback, Barney said, “Twenty guys believing if we get one, we can get two. We know we can score. We play the right way.”

The fans came out to support the Bombers. The reported attendance was 1,041.

“It was a playoffs mentality. A great crowd in there. The boys really appreciate that. When you get those big crowds in there, it gives them a little extra motivation,” said Barney, who played professionally, including in the NHL.

“I know that goes a long ways, especially in the playoffs.”

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