Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

BHP Recap: Broncos Home Ice Holds. Grab 3-2 Series Lead with 4-1 Victory.

Broncos celebrate Spencer Bell's first playoff goal in a 4-1 victory in Game 5. Photo: Marla Possberg Photography

Through the 56-game regular season schedule, the Humboldt Broncos earned home ice advantage in the opening round of the 2024 playoffs. It has proved to be extremely essential at the EPA.

The Broncos once again protected home ice and defeated the Weyburn Red Wings 4-1 on Friday night in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead.

The home team has now won all five games in the series.

The Broncos’ team speed in the first period set them up for success throughout the 60-minutes. Humboldt drew four powerplays in the first period, wearing down the Red Wings key players, especially defenders who also penalty kill, forcing them into heavy minutes and grueling shifts early in the game.

The green and gold also scored on their first powerplay as Travis Bryson’s net front pass went off a defensemen’s leg and in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

With a 1-0 lead heading into the second period, and the powerplays 4-0 in favour of the Broncos, there was a feeling that eventually the calls would start to even up. Low an behold, it all happened in the same instant.

1:52 into the second frame, Spencer Bell was called a double-minor for high sticking, and Travis Bryson a two-minute hooking penalty, putting Weyburn on a full two-minute 5-on-3 with an additional two minutes of 5-on-4 to follow.

Jerome Maharaj would blast a one-timer above Ben Motew last into the 5-on-3 to tie the game 1-1. However, the Broncos would avoid any further danger, killing off the last two minutes returning the game to even strength.

At even strength, the Broncos were too much for Weyburn at the EPA. They consistently pressured in the attacking zone and were hard-nosed in the defensive zone limiting Weyburn to very few high danger scoring chances.

The tie was broken by an incredible effort of creativity by Maddox Amaral.

Amaral, with the puck behind the net, appeared to attempt the Michigan, but after flipping the puck on his stick, gave it a soft toss over the back of the net, banked it off the helmet of netminder, Dazza Mitchell and into the back of the net for the eventual game-winning-goal.

In the third period, with Weyburn running out of steam, Humboldt drew three more penalties, although credit needs to be given to the Red Wings’ penalty kill who collectively killed off seven straight powerplays and 7/8 overall.

Matthew Van Blaricom scored his 6th goal of the playoffs early in the third period to add insurance to the Broncos lead. Van Blaricom now leads the SJHL in playoff scoring with his 11th point, and his 6th goal is tied for the league lead with Melfort’s Aidyn Hutchinson.

The SJHL’s goal scoring leader in the regular season, Spencer Bell was snake bitten throughout the first four games of the playoffs, and he was relieved, as were all the Broncos’ fans, when he found the empty net to secure a 4-1 victory.

Ben Motew had some hard-working help from the team in front of him, but still turned aside a great performance stopping 29 of 30.

The Broncos now have a chance to end the series on Easter Sunday. However, they’ll have to do it in Weyburn, where once again the home team hasn’t lost in the playoffs.

Game 6 will commence on Sunday, April 30th at 7:00pm.