HUMBOLDT — It was youth and potential versus experience when the Humboldt Broncos met the Flin Flon Bombers in the first round of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs.
In the end, experience won out as the young, seventh-seeded Broncos lost in four straight games to the veteran Bombers, the No. 2 seed. After dropping the first two games on the road, 5-2 and 6-3, the Humboldt team lost 6-1 and 2-1 at home last week.
“I think we learned some big lessons – especially against a strong club in Flin Flon... All in all, Flin Flon is an experienced team and they showed that throughout the series,” Broncos head coach Scott Barney said.
The Broncos and Bombers ended their series on March 11 – a Wednesday. Two days later, last Friday, the SJHL, Canadian Junior Hockey League and Hockey Canada cancelled the rest of season due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
In game three, on March 10, the Bombers led 2-0 and 4-1 at the intermissions en route to a 6-1 victory. With their season on the line the next night, the Broncos sought to send the series to a game five. After a scoreless first period, Zach Bannister scored for Flin Flon. Humboldt forward Karter McNarland knotted the game at 1-1 after he scored on the powerplay. In the third period, Flin Flon’s Easton Haygarth had the winning goal.
Humboldt netminder Brendan Forman stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced. Cal Schell made 44 saves.
“Obviously, our last game was probably our best game,” Barney said. “The boys battled right to the end. One bounce there maybe cost us that game. I thought their goalie played really great in the last game. Forman gave us a good chance to win.”
In the playoffs, Tristan Shewchuk led the Broncos with two goals and four points in four games. Shewchuk, who was in his 18-year-old season, was named the winner of the team’s Dr. Gerry Rooney Playoff MVP award. Defenceman Doug Scott had three points in the postseason.
The Broncos placed two of their young stars on the SJHL All-Rookie Team. McNarland earned his spot after finishing second among league rookies in points with 50, including 10 goals, in 57 games. He was the team’s Rookie of the Year and the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division nominee for the SJHL Rookie of the Year Award.
Teammate Jackson Bohan, a defenceman, also earned an All-Rookie Team spot. He paced all first year SJHL blue liners with 29 points, including five goals, in 49 games. He was just ahead of teammate Cody Hough. Bohan placed second on the Broncos in defenceman scoring as he was a point behind Scott.
The Broncos last week
First Round Playoffs
Tuesday, March 10 in Humboldt
Flin Flon 6, Humboldt 1
Broncos Scorer: Doug Scott
Bombers Scorers: Easton Haygarth, Cole Rafuse, Chase Haygarth, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve, Tristan Lemyre, Dane Hirst
Goalies: Michael Harroch, Humboldt, 15 saves on 19 shots; Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 9 on 11; Jacob Delorme, Flin Flon, 28 on 29
Notes: Flin Flon led 2-0 and 4-1 at the intermissions. The Broncos were 1-for-7 on the powerplay, while the Bombers were 3-for-10. Flin Flon had 45 penalty minutes. Humboldt received 62.
Wednesday, March 11 in Humboldt
Flin Flon 1, Humboldt 1
Broncos Scorer: Karter McNarland
Bombers Scorers: Zach Bannister, Easton Haygarth
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 31 saves on 33 shots; Cal Schell, Flin Flon, 44 on 45
Notes: After a scoreless first period, Bannister scored in the second to put Flin Flon up 1-0. Before the period was over, McNarland tied the game on a powerplay. Haygarth scored the game winner in the third.