It wasn’t the New Year’s party the Humboldt Broncos were looking for to kick off 2022.
The Broncos returned to the ice following their holiday break on January 4th in a road game against the Melville Millionaires and fell to the hometown team 5-3 which snapped the Broncos five-game winning streak.
Defenseman, Noah Barlage scored the game’s opening goal on the powerplay, his fourth goal of the season, to give the Broncos an early 1-0 lead.
Throughout the contest, the Broncos showed to have a fair bit of rust coming off their holiday break, specifically mental and defensive lapses, which led to numerous odd man rushes for the Millionaires during the game. Charles-Thomas Larochelle scored the equalizer on a 2 on 1 opportunity, before Noah Wills beat Rayce Ramsay on a breakaway to give the Mills their first lead of the game heading into the second period.
The Broncos’ powerplay capitalized once again in the middle frame as Cage Newans tucked home a back door pass from newcomer Jerzy Orchard to tie the game at 2-2. It was Orchard’s first point as a Bronco in his first game since being acquired in a trade with the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials.
Melville would break the tie late in the second period with Noah Wills’ second of the game, once again on an odd-man rush attempt.
The final period was a back-and-forth affair between the two clubs. Melville doubled their lead to 4-2 off the stick of Enrique Fontes, before Cage Newans banged home his second of the game and 10th of the season to get the Broncos back within one.
In a last-ditch effort, Humboldt pulled their goaltender. However, it was short-lived as Nicholas Andrusiak found the back of the empty net and the Millionaires skated off with a 5-3 victory.
The Broncos loss drops their record to 27-9-0-0, albeit still first place in the SJHL.
They will look to bounce back on Saturday January 8th when they welcome the Battlefords North Stars to town for the first home game of 2022. The following day, the Broncos will get a chance at revenge when they host the Millionaires on January 9th.