Written by: Rory McGouran
In a month filled with bus miles, hotel reward points, and immensely tough road opponents, the Broncos had one goal in mind; to finish the month of November strong and start their final road trip of 2023 with a victory in La Ronge.
Entering the Mel Hegland Arena on Thursday to embark on a three-game in three-day northern road swing, the Broncos did just that and tamed the La Ronge Ice Wolves, wearing down their four-legged foe throughout 60-minutes in a dominating 6-2 victory.
The Ice Wolves, who have lacked their usual bite this season, sitting in 11th place in the SJHL standings, has seemed to have found a but of a groove, gelling as a pack and wining their last two games to put them just a handful of points behind the playoff line. However, they were no match for the Broncos on Friday night who outskated, outshot, and in the end, outscored them for the third straight game this season. In the three matches so far between the two teams, the Broncos have a combined score of 19-3 (6-1, 7-0, 6-2).
Spence Bell was a force from the opening puck drop, finishing with a hat trick and a 5-point night. The 20-year-old veteran culminated his month of November with 20 points in 10 games (8g,12a) and was named the SJHL’s Saskatchewan Born Player of the Month.
The first forty minutes of the game was rather low scoring in the tight confines of the Mel.
The Broncos opened the score in the first period with a Travis Bryson breakaway where he fired home his 11th of the season. The Ice Wolves countered early in the second frame as Mason Bueckert hit the double-digit plateau and his 10th of the year, beating Aidan Fischer on a glove side shot.
With the game tied 1-1, the Broncos killed a crucial late second period penalty, and Spencer Bell took over from there.
With 38 seconds left in the second period, just after the penalty expired, Bell intercepted a puck on the Wolves’ blueline before undressing Ice Wolves’ netminder Topher Chirico, giving the Broncos a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame.
The third period was all Humboldt.
Four unanswered goals, and two on the powerplay tamed the Ice Wolves from conducting any home ice threat. The Broncos were fantastic at building a presence in front of the net, resulting in basically all four of the third period goals.
Tristan Serrao (2) and Daylan Weigel’s (1) goals were both point shots directly from an offensive faceoff and through a screen that Chirco didn’t see before they were behind him and in the back of the net. Spencer Bell got in front of another Connor Thue point shot and deflected his second of the game. Then on a subsequent powerplay, Bell’s net front presence once again allowed him to bang home a rebound and complete the hattrick.
La Ronge added their final goal with just 42 seconds left on a trickling puck that found its way passed Fischer for a 6-2 final score.
Fischer was once again impressing, improving his rookie record this season to 6-1-0-0 on the year, stopping 37 of 39 in the contest.
The Broncos special teams were also exceptional with their powerplay going 2/8 and PK denying 5/5.
The Broncos will look for more success on their final road trip of the 2023 year, taking on the Ice Wolves in the rematch on Friday before finishing the busy stretch in Flin Flon on Saturday.