HUMBOLDT — Braiden Koran is pleased to be back on the ice with the Humboldt Broncos – and shooting for success.
Last season, as a rookie, the forward was part of a young team that turned a lot of heads and made it to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs. With many players back and the addition of talented newcomers, the Broncos are shooting for more. As of Monday, Humboldt (3-1-0-0), Nipawin (3-0-0-0) and Melville (3-1-0-0) all topped the SJHL standings with six points.
When asked about this season, Koran said: “I’m most excited to be a very successful team with all the returning guys that we have this year.”
The squad is pleased to be playing as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of this regular season and other Junior A loops have not started yet or, in the case of at least the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, have put their season on hold. SJHL teams had training camp for almost two months. It could have been a grind and difficult to stay motivated, but Koran said: “We have a great group of guys that kept each other accountable throughout the two months.”
The Broncos are counting on Koran this season to be a physical presence, contribute on both ends of the ice, and be a leader. He is one of the team’s assistant captains.
When asked about his leadership style, Koran said that he is “more of lead by example type of guy, so by giving my maximum effort I hope to bring out the best in the rest of the team.” This seems to echo head coach Scott Barney’s thoughts about him.
“Braiden leads by example every day,” the Broncos bench boss said. “Never complains about anything. Puts 110 per cent effort in. His commitment on the ice is the same. Plays hard every single shift.”
Koran hails from Kimberley, B.C. He played two seasons at the Junior B level for his hometown Dynamiters before joining the Broncos. Barney described Koran as a power forward type player who takes pucks to the net.
“He’s a team first type player,” the head coach said. “He can play on any line in your lineup and he just brings that physical presence every night.”
Last season Koran had 13 goals, 35 points, and 49 penalty minutes in 54 games. This season the 6-foot, 205-pounder has not yet collected a point and has eight penalty minutes in three games.
“He’s feared by his opponents and he’s very good around the net,” Barney said. “He brings size and strength to our lineup and skates very well for his size. We’re happy every game with Braiden Koran in our lineup.”
Koran is pleased to be with the Broncos. He billets with the Cannon family. “My entire experience in Humboldt has been great so far from the billets to the teammates to the coach and, of course, the fans,” he said.
The Broncos last week
Tuesday, Nov. 10 in Humboldt
Humboldt 5, Yorkton 4 OT
Broncos Scorers: Logan Kurki, Luke Spadafora, Cody Hough, Doug Scott, Chase Nameth
Terriers Scorers: Steven Norum, Jackson Berezowski, Kaeden Taphorn
Goalies: Dean McNabb, Humboldt, 24 on 28; Jacob Herman, Yorkton, 28 on 33
Notes: The victory came in the Broncos’ home opener. “It was great being able to get back and play in the (Elgar Petersen Arena),” captain Doug Scott said. “Even though we have limited capacity, it’s still awesome having my billets being able to watch me again and feeling the support from everyone in the community is great even when they're unable to attend our games.” Yorkton led 1-0 at the first intermission. The game was tied 3-3 at the second. In the third period, Kurki put Humboldt up 4-3 but Taphorn answered on a powerplay. Scott scored the winning goal less than a minute into overtime. “I got a great setup from Steph(ane) Huard (Jr.),” Scott said. “He laid the puck into an open spot for me when I came off the bench and I was able to pop it past the goalie. It was nice to be able to contribute for the team and getting that win great, especially against those Terriers.”
Friday, Nov. 13 in Humboldt
Estevan 3, Humboldt 2
Broncos Scorers: Tristan Shewchuk, Max Gudnason
Bruins Scorers: Cole Fonstad (2), Eric Pearce
Goalies: Tanner Marshall, Humboldt, 23 on 26; Emerik Demers, Estevan, 30 on 32
Notes: Shewchuk gave Humboldt a 1-0 lead. Gudnason scored in the second session but two Bruins’ goals sent the game to the third tied at 2-2. Fonstad’s second of the night was the game winner in the final frame. Logan Kurki had two assists for Humboldt. Bronco Carson Schultz dropped the gloves with Estevan’s Tanner Mortenson in the third.
Saturday, Nov. 14 in Estevan
Humboldt 7, Estevan 6 OT
Broncos Scorers: Tristan Shewchuk (2), Max Gudnason, Logan Kurki, Stephane Huard Jr., Cody Hough, Doug Scott
Bruins Scorers: Eddie Gallagher (2), Austin King-Cunningham, Kade McMillen, Cole Fonstad, Eric Pearce
Goalies: Dean McNabb, Humboldt, 31 on 37; Eric Clark, Estevan, 27 on 33; Emerik Demers, Estevan, 4 on 5
Notes: Shewchuk scored the game winner. “In overtime, (Jarrett) Penner was able to turn the puck over in our zone to create a three-on-one for us,” he said. “Penner made a nice shot for a rebound off the goalie’s pad and I was in the right spot to put it in the open net.” Humboldt led 3-2 and 6-5 at the intermissions. Estevan scored twice shorthanded to take a 2-0 first period lead. After the Broncos surged back with three first period goals, the Bruins tied the game four times. Humboldt was three-for-seven on the powerplay while Estevan was two-for-six. Scott recorded four points. As of Sunday, with nine points, Kurki was tied for the SJHL lead with Melville’s Reece Newkirk. Scott paced all defencemen with seven points.
The Broncos (3-1-0-0) host the Notre Dame Hounds (1-1-0-0, as of Sunday) on Saturday. The teams play in Wilcox on Monday.
“I think the team worked hard in all three games this week. Got the overtime twice and obviously good to come out on the winning side. But I think the competition level in the league this year with adding the Western Hockey League players has made the games interesting. High pace and intensity. It has made for great hockey. It has really helped with our team here building us towards farther into the season and hopefully continued success.”
- Broncos head coach Scott Barney