HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt Broncos are hoping that the friendly confines of Elgar Petersen Arena will help them even their playoff series.
In their Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League first round postseason matchup, the seventh seeded Broncos trailed the No. 2 seed, the Flin Flon Bombers, 2-0, as Monday. The series was to head to Humboldt for a pair of games – on Tuesday and Wednesday – at the EPA. The building boasted the second-best attendance in the SJHL during the regular season with around 860 fans.
“It’s a tough building to play in there in Flin Flon and they had their home ice advantage,” Broncos head coach Scott Barney said. “That’s what playoffs are all about. Now we are back in Humboldt with our fans and hopefully we can take advantage of that.
“Obviously, it’s still early in the series. We feel there is still a great opportunity for us to win this series. We got to get back to some things we need to focus on here.”
One thing the Broncos are focusing on is getting off to a better start. They fell down 2-0 in both games.
“We’ve just got to focus on our game here and get ready,” Barney said. “I believe the guys will be in great spirits for game three.”
A Humboldt win during the week would mean game five would played in Flin Flon on Friday. If required, game six would be at the EPA on Sunday. A seventh and final contest would be on Tuesday in Flin Flon.
Up north, the Broncos tried to battle but could not contain the high-flying Bombers. Flin Flon won 5-2 on Friday night and 6-3 on Saturday. Special teams play is always a key when playing Flin Flon this season. The Broncos scored on 23.1 per cent of their powerplay opportunities, while the Bombers converted at a 33.3 per cent rate.
At home, the Bombers got off to a strong start on Friday. They led Humboldt 2-0 at the first intermission and 4-0 in the second period. Humboldt got one goal back and trailed 4-1 going into the third. Both of Humboldt’s goals came on the powerplay and were scored by Tristan Shewchuk. The Broncos were two-for-seven with the man advantage, while the Bombers were one-for-four.
In the second contest, the Broncos got down early but tried to fight back. Trailing 2-0 in the first period, Reid Arnold scored shorthanded to pull his team to within one, 2-1, before the first intermission. Flin Flon went up 3-1, but Logan Foster answered for Humboldt. However, Flin Flon added two more goals to Humboldt’s one to hold a 5-3 lead going into the third. The Bombers would add another goal, into an empty net, in the final period.
Flin Flon scored on three of its eight power play opportunities. Broncos goalie Brendan Forman made 38 saves on 43 shots.
Through two playoff games, Shewchuk paced the Broncos with two goals and four points. Defenceman Doug Scott was second on the club in points with two assists.
The Broncos last week
Tuesday, March 3 in Humboldt
Humboldt 3, Melville 1
Broncos Scorer: Cade Cavallini, Reid Arnold, Braiden Koran
Millionaires Scorer: Nathan Hannon
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 7 saves on 7 shots; Noah Decottignies, Humboldt, 16 on 17; Berk Berkeliev, Melville, 29 on 32
Notes: The win secured the Broncos the seventh seed for the playoffs.
First Round Playoffs
Friday, March 6 in Flin Flon
Flin Flon 5, Humboldt 2
Broncos Scorer: Tristan Shewchuk (2)
Bombers Scorers: Donavan Houle-Villeneuve (2), Easton Haygarth, Mason Martin, Billy Klymchuk
Goalies: Michael Harroch, Humboldt, 15 saves on 18 shots; Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 23 on 25; Jacob Delorme, Flin Flon, 33 on 35
Notes: Flin Flon led 2-0 after the first period and took a 4-0 lead in the second. Humboldt made it a 4-1 game before the second intermission. Both of Shewchuk’s goals came on the powerplay.
Saturday, March 7 in Flin Flon
Flin Flon 6, Humboldt 3
Broncos Scorers: Josh Paulhus, Logan Foster, Reid Arnold
Bombers Scorers: Cole Rafuse (4), Easton Haygarth, Tristan Lemyre
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 38 saves on 43 shots; Jacob Delorme, Flin Flon, 27 on 30
Notes: The Broncos trailed 2-1 and 5-3 at the intermissions. Tristan Shewchuk had two assists for Humboldt. The Bombers scored three powerplay goals on eight opportunities. Humboldt was one-for-six with the man advantage.
The Humboldt Broncos, as of Monday, trailed Flin Flon, 2-0, in their best-of-seven first-round playoff series. After two games up North, the series was slated to continue Tuesday and Wednesday at the Elgar Petersen Arena. Game five would be at the Whitney Forum on Friday with game six in Humboldt on Sunday. If required, game seven would be on March 17 in Flin Flon.