Written by: Rory McGouran
It was the final home game for the Humboldt Broncs for the next 21 days and they provided a sufficient sending package to the hometown crowd with a 5-3 victory over the Nipawin Hawks.
Saturday marked the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Broncos and Hawks. Through the four-game out-of-division rivalry series, Humboldt was the more complete team, securing 7 out of a possible 8 points.
For the first time in all four games between the two teams, the first period ended in a scoreless tie.
In the second frame, and once again for the first time this series, Nipawin scored the opening goal of the game with Joel Mabin’s 5th of the season.
Over the weekend set, Hawks netminder, Tyson Endall had showcased himself as a gutsy and fearless, yet successful puck playing goalie. However, with 2:17 left in the second, it went against him. While on a Nipawin powerplay, Endall race out of his net to play a puck, held it for far too long, and Jeter Korte stole it from the goaltender’s stick and shoved it in the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
It was the fourth shorthanded goal of the season for the Broncos.
The Broncos looked like they were breaking the game open in the third period, scoring three straight goal to take a 4-1 lead.
Complete momentum was controlled by the green and gold, starting with a highlight of the night goal by Matthew Van Blaricom.
MVB, a nickname suitable with his 13 goals in 12 games this season, danced around the defenders, breaking the ankles of Vito Biondo, before undressing Ronan Buckberger, one of the league’s top young defenseman, and finally firing a shot over the blocker of Endall to give the Broncos their first lead of the game.
Within the next 2:28, the Broncos used their speed and creativity to sneak behind the defense on back-to-back breakaways. Just 36 seconds apart and both Marik Mamic and Spencer Hughes scored to help attribute to the 4-1 lead.
Give credit to the Hawks, as they put the fans on the edge of their seat in the final four minutes with a desperation comeback effort.
Alex Bernauer scored on the power play with 4:03 to lift the Hawks within two.
Then with the goalie pulled, the Hawks found the back of the net again, as Evan Forrest banged home a rebound. All of a sudden, there was 2:01 left in the game and the Hawks had fought back to within one.
The final minutes provided the tense atmosphere that will surely welcome fans back to the EPA who are eager for another taste of the same excitement. To send them home with even more enjoyment, it was Landon Stromme who alleviated the collectively held breath of the EPA attendance, finding the back of the empty net and securing the 5-3 victory.
The Broncos were outshot for the first time this season allowing a season high 44 shots, but Ben Motew was brilliant again in net, stopping 41 for his 9th win of the season.
With the win the Broncos remain undefeated in regulation with a 12-0-2-1 record and will embark on a 6-game trip away from the EPA starting in Kindersley on Friday, November 10th.