HUMBOLDT — Last week was packed with news for the Humboldt Broncos.
On the ice, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team earned a point in each of its three games. With a 15-9-3-2 record, the Broncos had 35 standings points. That tied them with Melfort (16-7-2-1) and Flin Flon (16-6-3-0) for second most in the SJHL behind Battlefords’ 48 (24-2-0-0).
Off the ice, the Broncos learned that standout 16-year-old forward Karter McNarland had been invited to the Team Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A Challenge. As well, Humboldt traded defenceman Chase Felgueiras forward Bryson Cecconi for future considerations.
McNarland’s invite to the Canada West selection camp, which runs Dec. 1-3 in Calgary, is recognition of the standout season the rookie is having. As of Sunday, McNarland was tied for fourth on the Broncos in scoring with 22 points, including five goals. The Saskatoon product was second on the squad in assists with 17 to Logan Foster’s 21 and paced the Broncos with nine power play assists.
“Really excited for Karter for the opportunity with Team Canada West,” Humboldt head coach Scott Barney said. “I think he deserves the selection. Obviously, he is an ’03 and one of the youngest players in the league. He has played exceptionally well for us.”
Nic Porterfield of the Melville Millionaires and McNarland were the lone SJHLers among the 44 players invited to the camp. Humboldt head coach Scott Barney will serve as an assistant coach on the squad. Team Canada West includes players from five Junior A leagues.
The World Junior A Challenge runs Dec. 7-15 in Dawson Creek, B.C. It features two Canadian teams as well as squads from the United States, Russia, and the Czech Republic. Seventy-two alumni from the event were on opening night rosters for the 2019-2020 National Hockey League season. Alumni includes Jaden Schwartz, Brock Boeser, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Cale Makar, among many others.
Barney said it was a tough week trading veterans Cecconi and Felgueiras.
“It’s not an easy part of the business, but we figured it was the best for the organization going forward here,” he said. “It gets some of our younger guys more opportunity to play and develop at the same time and continue to grow as a hockey club.”
Cecconi and Felgueiras were swapped to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Portage Terriers. The perennially strong team is gearing up to host the 2020 Centennial Cup national Junior A championships.
The 19-year-old Felgueiras had 15 points, with three goals, in 22 games this season. Last winter he appeared on the watch list for the NHL Draft and played in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospect Game. The 20-year-old Cecconi was tied for second on the team in points with 25.
The week before the Broncos acquired 19-year-old forward Tyson McLean from Weyburn for a player development fee. The Calgary product had four goals and seven points in 19 games for the Red Wings. Last season the 5-foot-9, 165-pounder played most Junior B in B.C. As of Sunday, McLean has played three games with the Broncos.
“He’s going to help with our younger players with his work ethic everyday, how he prepares everyday for games, and his willingness to compete every shift will pay off for the younger guys going forward,” Barney said.
The Broncos started last week strong with a 5-1 win over the Estevan Bruins at home. Humboldt used a four-goal third period to secure the victory. Bryson Cecconi recorded three points.
The next night the Broncos scored all of its goals in the first period and beat the Weyburn Red Wings, 2-1. Humboldt goalie Brendan Forman made 21 saves and only lost his shutout bid in the third period.
The Broncos picked up a point in the standings on Saturday with a 3-2 overtime loss on the road to the Notre Dame Hounds. Humboldt led 2-0 in the first period but could not hold off the host Hounds.
“It is always good when you can get points in all three games,” Barney said. “Obviously a little disappointed with the last one. I think we gave up one shot in the third period. It is tough to lose those, but that’s hockey.”
The Broncos last week
Wednesday, Nov. 20 in Humboldt
Humboldt 5, Estevan 1
Broncos Scorers: Zach McIntyre, Noah Barlage, Justin Jamer, Bryson Cecconi, Chase Felguerias
Bruins Scorer: CJ Corazzin
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 37 saves on 38 shots; Keenan Rancier, Estevan, 32 on 35
Notes: The Broncos held a 1-0 lead at the intermissions. The squad outscored the Bruins, 4-1, in the third period to secure the victory. Humboldt’s own Noah Barlage, a 16-year-old defenceman, scored his first Junior A goal. The Broncos were two-for-four on the power play.
Thursday, Nov. 21 in Humboldt
Humboldt 2, Weyburn 1
Broncos Scorers: Braiden Koran, Isaac Leik
Red Wings Scorer: Taylor Schmidt
Goalies: Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 21 saves on 22 shots; Joseph Young, Weyburn, 35 on 37
Notes: The Broncos scored both of their goals in the first period and hung on for the victory. The Red Wings ruined Forman’s shutout bid in the third period.
Saturday, Nov. 23 in Wilcox
Notre Dame 3, Humboldt 2 OT
Broncos Scorers: Logan Kurki, Zach McIntyre
Hounds Scorers: Hardy Wagner, Cole Stevenson, Kenzie MacKinnon
Goalies: Dawson Cochrane, Humboldt, 10 saves on 12 shots; Brendan Forman, Humboldt, 7 on 8; Riley Kohonick, Notre Dame, 31 on 33
Notes: The Broncos jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead. The Hounds got one goal back in the first period and another in the second. In overtime, Wagner scored the game winner.
The Humboldt Broncos (15-9-3-2) hit the road on Friday to play the Nipawin Hawks (14-11-2-0). On Saturday the teams have a rematch at the Elgar Petersen Arena.