Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Broncos’ 3rd Period Comeback Leads to 3-1 Series Lead over Hawks

Photo Credit: Marla Possberg Photography

Written By: Rory McGouran

The Humboldt Broncos stormed back with 4 straight goals in the third period in Game 4 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 series lead against the Nipawin Hawks.

Prior to Game 4 in Nipawin, the home team had won all three games. Throughout the opening two frames last night, the Nipawin Hawks were pushing to continue that trend and even the series up at two games apiece.

Hawk’s forward, Alex Johnson opened the scoring with his second of the postseason to take a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Then in the second frame, Reid Mackay scored his first of the playoffs on a weird play that the Broncos thought was touched with a high stick but was never blown down. Mackay kept playing, took the puck off the stick of an unsuspecting Daylan Weigel, and fired a wrist shot past goaltender Ben Motew for a 2-0 lead.

“The mood in the dressing room never changed, they always believed they were going to come back,” said Assistant Coach, Carter Hansen during the post game interview.

It didn’t take long either.

Just 28 seconds into the final frame, Tim Kim crashed right to the blue paint and banged home his first of the playoffs to cut the lead to 2-1.

Following that goal, Nipawin seemed to increase in nervousness, gripping the sticks a little tighter, and four  minutes later Alex Johnson  turned the puck over to Ethan Zielke in the neutral zone who used his straight-line speed towards the net and fired home the game tying goal over the blocker of Damon Cunningham.

The Broncos, now in total control of the momentum, completely shut down their end of the ice, resulting in just four Nipawin shots in the third period.

Although the two teams are very similar in average age, (18.68 NIP to 18.82 HB), the Broncos clearly have the edge in SJHL playoff experience (82 games). That experience helped complete the comeback, as it was 20-year-old veteran Lucas Ceccarelli who scored the game winning goal and the empty-net insurance marker, his 3rd and 4th of the playoffs, to lift the Broncos to a 4-2 victory.

This was the first game the Broncos were held without a powerplay goal, going 0/5.

It was also the first game allowing a powerplay goal against, with the PK going 3/4.
Ceccarelli’s empty net goal was scored shorthanded.

Ben Motew stopped 22 of 24 shots. He is now 2-0 in the playoffs, with a 1.50 GAA and a .948 SV% in his first two career SJHL Playoff Games.

The Broncos now have a 3-1 stranglehold on the series, and they’ll look to close it out and advance to the second round when Game 5 comes back to Humboldt on Friday, March 24th.