Matthew Perkins broke out of a scoring slump in a big way, and the Broncos slapped an emphatic stamp on the season series, defeating the Battlefords North Stars 7-1 on the road Saturday night.
In the 8th and final meeting between the two clubs, the Broncos held a 5-2 record in the prior meetings this season. However, it was the North Stars who were victorious the last time out, handing the Broncos a 4-0 shutout defeat.
The finale, although ending in a lopsided score, had all the fireworks you could ask for. A 5-point night, two hat-tricks, a record tying victory for a goalie, and over 200 penalty minutes with 194 of them taking place in the final minute of the game.
The North Stars opened the scoring 14:22 into the first period with defenseman, Wilson Steele scoring his second goal of the season. The shot came from the point through a screen and squeaked through Rayce Ramsay for the 1-0 lead. It was one that the Broncos’ netminder would probably want back, but he was a brick wall the rest of the way.
The Broncos countered just over two minutes later. Matthew Perkins found Jerzy Orchard wide open in the slot, who had all day to pick his spot and fired a low glove side shot passed Austin Schwab for the 1-1 tie. The assist for Perkins broke a lengthy seven-game point drought, the longest of the season for Perkins. It evidently opened the floodgates in a big way.
Perkins, with reignited confidence blooming, scored his first goal of the game one minute into the second period to give the Broncos their first lead. Perkins tossed the monkey from off his back about ten rows deep of the Access Communications Center. It was his first goal in 20 games to give him 20 on the season.
Late in the second frame, Sam Marburg banged home a loose puck that snuck behind Schwab for his eight of the season and a 3-1 Broncos lead.
Perkins opened the scoring just 29 seconds into the third period, as the Broncos looked to run away with victory. Perkins second goal of the game came on the powerplay, walking off the goal line and beating Schwab who had came off his short-side post.
The Broncos were granted another powerplay five minutes later. Perkins maneuvered the exact same move off the goal line, but instead of shooting it, slid in across the crease to a wide-open Orchard who tapped home his second goal of the game, which also gave Perkins point number four.
Perkins completed the handful of points, and the hattrick, receiving a cross ice pass in stride from Alec Saretzky and hammering away a one-timer for a 6-1 Broncos’ lead.
At this point in the game, there was only 34 combined penalty minutes, a relatively normal number for an SJHL game.
All that changed in an instant.
Cage Newans took a hit along the back wall from Wilson Steele which he took exception too and slightly retaliated. If it wasn’t for a cross-check from behind that Ty Bahm labelled on the numbers of Newans following the initial incident, all may have been much calmer. However, following Bahm’s hit from behind, all chaos broke loose.
Everyone entered the skirmish and came out with a dance partner.
194 penalty minutes were assessed amongst the 10 players on the ice, and there is sure to be some subsequent ramifications in terms of suspension for the brouhaha.
It goes without saying that eight games is a lot to build up a hatred for one another, and that certainly spilled over on Saturday.
The Broncos came out with a 5 on 3 powerplay with just 40 seconds to work with, where Orchard completed his hattrick for his eight goal of the year and seventh in his last five games.
The win improved the Broncos’ record to 42-13-0-0 on the season.
Not lost in the fold was the exceptional work by Broncos’ goalie, Rayce Ramsay. The workhorse and front-runner for SJHL MVP tied the All-Time SJHL record for wins in a single season with his 39th victory of the year. The win matched former Humboldt Broncos goalie, Pat Mazzoli who had 39 wins back in 1989/90. Even more impressive, Mazzoli set the bar in a 68 game SJHL season. Ramsay, who has now won eight straight starts, is doing it in a 58-game schedule.
Ramsay will look to break the record on home ice when the Broncos welcome in the Kindersley Klippers on Wednesday, March 2nd for the final home game of the season.