HUMBOLDT — Strong individual performances helped the Humboldt Broncos post two big wins and clinch a playoff spot last week.
On Feb. 17, in front of 1,137 at the Elgar Petersen Arena, defenceman Doug Scott scored four goals as the Broncos beat the Kindersley Klippers, 6-3. In the next contest, on Feb. 19 in Melville, Humboldt goalie Michael Harroch earned his first Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League shutout. Forward Logan Kurki powered the Broncos’ offence with four goals in an 8-0 victory.
“I think what allowed me to score four times was my teammates working and putting me in good spots to score,” Kurki said. “Also, on nights like those, everything seems to find the twine and I’m happy they did because it got us the win and a playoff spot.”
Humboldt head coach Scott Barney said the week was a great success.
“I thought the work ethic was there from start to finish both games,” he said. “Having Dougie score four in the game on Monday and Logan Kurki score four on Wednesday was huge. Great for their confidence. They’ve been great additions to our club all season.”
As of Sunday, the Humboldt team has a 25-21-7-2 record. That placed them in eighth place and the final postseason berth. However, the Broncos trailed seventh-place Estevan (29-22-3-1) by only three points – a regulation win and a shootout or overtime loss – with three games remaining on the Humboldt squad’s schedule.
After beating Melville, Humboldt had a week off before hosting Battlefords, the SJHL leader, on Wednesday and Notre Dame on Saturday.
“We are trying to get some guys some rest,” Barney said. “We’ve had a lot of hockey here in the last six weeks. We need guys healed up. We’ll be doing a lot of video here, a lot of things we need to work on going forward for the playoffs and just keep their focus here on what’s at stake.”
In the playoff spot clinching game against Melville, Harroch made 21 saves for the shutout.
“The team played great defensively almost the entire game and gave Melville very little scoring chances,” he said. “At the same time, we had the puck down in their end almost the entire game. All of that combined with a little bit of luck helped me get my first shutout.”
The contest before the Broncos’ victory put some important distance between them and ninth place Klippers (22-26-6-1). Scott’s four goals, three of them on the powerplay, led Humboldt. “It felt great getting those goals against Kindersley, especially at this point of the season, we were in a tight race with them for the playoffs,” Scott said. “I’m just happy I could help out the team with that and hopefully continue onto the last few games of the season. Who knows? Maybe we’ll bump up another spot or two heading into the playoffs, which would be huge.
After the win over Kindersley, the team held a Skate with the Broncos. Humboldt forward Reid Arnold said, “what I enjoyed most about the skate was being able to give back to our great community and seeing all the support we get. I also enjoyed seeing all the kids happy and having a good time with our team after the game.”
Logan Foster and Karter McNarland were named the winners of Global Ag Risk Division awards. They are now nominees for the respective league awards.
Foster, the 20-year-old forward, was named the division’s Most Valuable Player. He paced the Broncos with 73 points, including 27 goals, as of Sunday. The 16-year-old McNarland is the division’s Rookie of the Year. He had 10 goals and 48 points.
The Broncos last week
Monday, Feb. 17 in Humboldt
Humboldt 6, Kindersley 3
Broncos Scorers: Doug Scott (4), Braiden Koran, Tristan Shewchuk
Klippers Scorers: Jacob Schnapp, Sean Michalevich, Liam Fraser
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 29 saves on 32 shots; Steven Bacovsky, Kindersley, 37 on 42
Notes: Humboldt trailed 2-0 in the first period but rallied with Scott, a defenceman, lighting the lamp four times. Scott’s first goal cut Kindersley’s lead to one, 2-1, before the first intermission. Scott’s second, on a powerplay, tied the contest, at 2-2, in the second period. Two more powerplay goals by Scott, one marker with the man advantage by Shewchuk, and an empty net, shorthanded marker by Koran allowed the Broncos to outscore the Klippers, 4-1, in the third period. Humboldt was four-for-nine on the powerplay and stopped all but one of Kindersley’s nine man-advantage opportunities. Logan Foster and Karter McNarland had three assists for Humboldt.
Wednesday, Feb. 19 in Melville
Humboldt 8, Melville 0
Broncos Scorers: Logan Kurki (4), Kade Olsen, Spencer McHardy, Justin Jamer, Ben Wourms-Rowe
Goalies: Michael Harroch, Humboldt, 21 saves on 21 shots; Kaleb McEachern, Melville, 49 on 57
Notes: Humboldt was three-for-five on the powerplay and killed off four man advantages by Melville. The Broncos led 2-0 and 4-0 at the intermissions. It was Harroch’s first SJHL shutout. Karter McNarland and Doug Scott each had three assists. Ben Worums-Rowe is an affiliate player from the midget AAA Moose Jaw Warriors. His dad, Michael, is a former Broncos alum.
The Humboldt Broncos (25-21-7-2) started this week with only three games remaining in the regular season. The squad hosted league-leading Batlefords on Wednesday and the Notre Dame Hounds visit on Saturday. The Broncos will conclude the regular season hosting the Melville Millionaires on March 3.