The scoreboard didn’t dictate a victory for the Humboldt Broncos on Friday night as they fell to the Nipawin Hawks, but there was a lot to be optimistic about.
The Humboldt Broncos travelled to Nipawin to start their preseason schedule on Friday night. The lineup featured just two returning players. one 20-year-old, and three 16-year-olds, as the coaching staff got a great look at some young talent trying to crack the opening day roster come September 17th.
On the other side, Nipawin, who struggled last season finishing 11th out of the 12 teams, started 10 returning players in their preseason opener including 15 players 19 or older.
After conceding the first goal just 26 seconds into the game to 20-year-old Hawks forward, Rylan Lefebvre, the Broncos answered with three of their own in the opening period. 2022 first round draft pick (6th overall) Matthew Van Blaricom tied the game at 1-1. Then a pair of 2004 birth year recruits in Keenan McNeill and Maddox Amaral built a 3-1 lead heading into the second frame.
The Hawks and Joel Mabin cut the deficit to 3-2 early in the second period, before Ontario native, Jack Piper (04) answered back for the Broncos to restore the two-goal lead.
Nipawin was able to then find their footing and rallied back in the second half of the game. They added two goals from FX Bedard and another from Finley Radloff to take a 5-4 lead into the final frame.
The third was scoreless until an empty net marker gave Nipawin a 6-4 victory.
The game proved that the Broncos, who could have as many as 14 veterans in the lineup on Saturday that didn’t play in Friday’s opener, have a bevy of young talent coming through the system.
Saturday will feature a rematch between the two teams as the Broncos will host their first home preseason game of the season.