Written by: Rory McGouran
The Humboldt Broncos have secured their status in the second round of the SJHL Playoffs on Friday night, taking care of business on home ice in a 6-2 victory over the Nipawin Hawks.
The Broncos won all three games on home ice, splitting Games 3 and 4 in Nipawin, ending the series in five games.
After a scoreless first period, the Broncos scored three straight in the second period from Ethan Zielke (3), Xavier Roy (2), and Daylan Weigel (1). Nipawin’s Finley Radloff found the back of the net with just 26 second left in the second fame to cut the lead to 3-1 heading into the third.
The Broncos came out strong in the third, trying to put the game out of reach. Just 3:22 in, they succeeded with back-to-back goals. Xavier Roy (3) added his second powerplay goal of the game, and Cage Newans (4) helped build the largest Broncos’ lead of the night at 5-1.
FX Bedard found his first of the playoffs as the Hawks continued to push, but they wouldn’t be able to get any closer, unable to solve Broncos’ netminder, Jared Picklyk again who stopped 25 of 27 for his second playoff win.
Broncos 20-year-old Sam Marburg added the 6th and final goal for the Broncos for his first of the postseason.
Special teams, again, were the Broncos biggest asset. Their powerplay went 2/4, while the PK was a perfect 3/3
Over the course of the series the Hawks couldn’t find any footing in the special teams battle, with the Broncos setting a league best 36% powerplay (9/25) and 95% penalty kill (19/20).
The Broncos will now wait for the other two ongoing series to finish before they know who they play in round 2.
If the Flin Flon Bombers are victorious over the Estevan Bruins, the Broncos and Bombers will meet for the third straight playoffs. If the Estevan Bruins close out the series, the Broncos will meet the winner of Melfort vs La Ronge.
The 2nd place Broncos are guaranteed home ice advantage in the second round. Games 1 and 2 will likely be set for March 31st and April 1st at the EPA.