Written by: Rory McGouran
Game one of the opening round series goes to the Broncos.
The Humbodlt Broncos protected their home ice advantage in a picture perfect way on Friday night with a 5-1 performance over the Nipawin Hawks.
The second seed Humboldt Broncos got to the seventh seed Hawks early with two goals in the opening four minutes. Spencer Bell tallied the first Broncos goal of the 2023 SJHL playoffs sneaking a wrist shot passed a screed Jackson Fellner. Then just 1:24 later Lucas Ceccarelli tucked home a rebound for his first of two on the night.
Later on in the first period, Ceccarelli turned defense into offence by gloving down an interception at the opposition blueline, and taking it in on a breakaway before burying a low shot that beat Fellner for a 3-0 Broncos lead heading into the second period.
In the middle frame, Nipawin scored their lone goal of the game when Alex Johnson found the puck in a goal mouth scramble to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Broncos, however, answered back and put the game out of reach with two late second period goals. Cage Newans scored his first of the playoffs on the powerplay, and Ben Kotylak made it 5-1 just 38 seconds later.
There was no scoring in the third period, but the Broncos had done enough for the convincing victory.
Jared Picklyk got the start in net and turned aside 34 of 35 for a sparkling .971 SV% performance.
The Broncos will look to open up a 2-0 series lead on Saturday at the EPA before the series heads to Nipawin on Tuesday and Wednesday.