The Swift Current Broncos made quite an impact after the holidays, winning their game on December 27th against the Moose Jaw Warriors by a score of 4-3 in overtime. After a defensive display by Joel Hofer in net, the third period was the defining factor with goals by Carter Chorney, Matthew Culling, and Matthew Stanley. Alex Moar buried the overtime goal to give the Broncos their seventh win of the season.
Back in Moose Jaw, during the home-and-home, the Broncos put up a good fight, but didn’t have the same outcome. Yes, it went to overtime again, but the Warriors would be victorious with a 4-3 win after a goal on an overtime power play.
The home-and-home against the Saskatoon Blades was tougher than expected, but they didn’t leave empty-handed. The Broncos earned five goals in two games, keeping them alive in both the games until the very end when they seemed to run out of steam in the final periods. Goals in both games came from Billy Sowa (2), Alex Zawatsky, Matthew Culling, and Joona Kiviniemi.
The Broncos then hosted the Portland Winterhawks during the Hawks road swing. Even though the score was 5-3 (with goals by Ethan O’Rourke, Matthew Culling, and Ethan Regnier), the Broncos were only a play away from tying it for most of the game. The team is never really out of the games they play. They have kept their match-ups relatively close, but seem to run out of gas near the end. For the young, rebuilding team, time and experience will help them solve this minor issue in the long run.
It wasn’t until the Broncos hosted the Regina Pats on Saturday, January 5th that they found their next win, their eighth of the season. Newcomer, Carter Chorney opened the scoring in the middle of the first period and the Pats couldn’t seem to equalize the score. Swift Current took a 1-0 win over Regina. Goalie Joel Hofer earned his second shutout of the season with 46 saves against the Pats.
— SC Broncos (@SCBroncos) January 6, 2019
Kye Buchanan made his debut with the Broncos during their January 9th home game against the Red Deer Rebels. Isaac Poulter stood solid in net with 34 saves on 37 shots. And the Broncos again remained in it until the end, losing by one goal, 3-2. Goals for Swift Current were courtesy of Carter Chorney and Joona Kiviniemi.
Eric Houk returned to the lineup after Christmas after a lengthy absence due to injury. With two goals and two fights, Houk was injured in Regina on November 10th during a fight and didn’t return to the lineup until December 27th. He made an instant impact upon his return with his strength and speed even though he didn’t get on the scoreboard. Houk is a solid forward who finds space on the ice and plays a gritty offensive game. He battles hard against the boards and stands firm against any opponent in the defensive zone.
The Broncos beefed up their offense in early January with the signing of Kye Buchanan. The 6-foot 3-inch forward had just finished playing in the Mac’s Midget AAA tournament with the St. Albert Raiders and won the title before signing a standard player agreement with Swift Current. He is expected to play out the rest of the season with the Broncos.
Good news to start the day! 6’3, 187 pound Kye Buchanan has signed a @TheWHL SPA. The 2001 born forward just captured a Mac’s Midget AAA title with @RaidersAAA. We acquired his rights in the Noah King deal. Welcome to the Bronco fam Kye! pic.twitter.com/OEvMx6eeea
— SC Broncos (@SCBroncos) January 5, 2019
On January 7th, the Swift Current organization acquired 18-year-old Tyler Lees from the Victoria Royals in exchange for a conditional 9th round draft pick in the 2021 bantam draft. Lees had three points in 27 games with the Royals so far this season before being traded to Swift Current. He has yet to make his debut with the team.
January 8th the Broncos organization announced that they had released forward Quinton Waitzner. The 6-foot, 18 year old Waitzner played three seasons in Swift Current and earned one goal, two assists, and 63 PIM in 82 games.
On game day, January 9th, before the Swift Current Broncos hit the ice, they announced a blockbuster deal for the second consecutive year. This season the trade involved the backbone of the team, Joel Hofer. In a deal that many saw coming, Hofer was traded to the Portland Winterhawks in exchange for six draft picks. As stated on the Broncos website, the Hofer trade “added six future selections in the WHL Bantam Draft including, two first round selections (2019, 2021), a second round pick (2020), a third round pick (2019), a fourth round pick (2020) and a fifth round pick (2020).”
Not long after the announcement about the departure of Joel Hofer as starting goaltender for Swift Current, the organization announced that they added goalie Riley Lamb to the roster. Lamb has previously spent two seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, earning a save percentage of 0.902 and a GAA of 3.27 in his last year with the team. This season, playing for the Weyburn Red Wings of the SJHL, Lamb notched a save percentage of 0.912 and a GAA of 3.43 in 26 games.
Not only did head coach Dean Brockman manage to fill the gaps on the team left by last year’s championship run, but he also managed to bring back similar picks that Manny Viveiros had traded away last season as well.
His players seem to like him and show up to every game each night, and Brockman is always available on the Broncos website, explaining what the team is going through. About the Hofer trade, Brockman explained that it wasn’t an easy choice to make, “when you have a quality goalie and a quality person like him, I think it’s really difficult…but it’s about the future.”
BRONCOS TV EXCLUSIVE: #SCB coach and GM Dean Brockman talks about the decision to trade goaltender Joel Hofer to @pdxwinterhawks for 6 WHL Bantam Draft picks including 2 first rounders. pic.twitter.com/pdx3hRuuAt
— SC Broncos (@SCBroncos) January 9, 2019
The Swift Current Broncos continue their quest for wins and valuable experience when they host the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, January 12th and then the Brandon Wheat Kings on Sunday, January 13th.