The Humboldt Broncos took advantage of a horrid second period by the Estevan Bruins on Saturday and never looked back in an eventual 6-2 victory at Spectra Place.
The Broncos had taken a 1-0 lead after a first period that saw the Bruins come out strong, but the momentum shifted to the visitors about midway through the period.
Neil Landry had the lone marker in the first, when Joey Davies' shot bounced to Landry in front for a tap-in at 7:57. The Broncos spent the rest of the period pressuring in the Bruins' end, stopped only by Steven Glass, who was phenomenal for the second straight start.
The shots were 18-8 Humboldt after one, and it only got worse. In this writer's opinion, the Bruins' second period was as bad as or worse than the debacle on Wednesday against Yorkton. It was men against boys out there, and the Broncos would have scored a lot more than three goals had it not been for Glass.
Of particular note was six minutes of power play time handed to the Bruins in the first half of the period. In that time, there was not one scoring chance and the puck spent as much time in the Estevan zone as it did in the Humboldt end. At that time, the Bruins were only down 1-0, and they blew a huge chance to get back in it.
That proved to be the turning point as the Broncos were rewarded for their penalty kill. Shortly after that, they would score two goals on glove-side deflections only 33 seconds apart. First it was Ryan Marshall with a great tip off a Mat Backhouse point shot that left Glass helpless. Then Andrew Herle tipped a Kameron Ballas point shot into the net.
Two minutes later, Dom Perrault scored on a point shot to get the Bruins within two goals. Then, on the very next shift, Marshall was allowed to waltz in all alone on Glass to make it 4-1. Any doubt whatsoever that the Broncos owned this game was quelled at that point.
Humboldt scored two more in the third as a result of Ballas putting the puck on the net, which is something he did all night long. First, a pretty weak shot bounced out to Ciolfi in the slot for a garbage goal, and then Ballas snuck one through traffic, five-hole on Glass, one that he'd likely want to have back.
Cole Olson scored the Bruins' second tally at 12:44, scooping up a rebound after Calder Neufeld rang one off the post.
The only line that looked good out there tonight was the Dochylo-Jelinski-Paslawski unit, which has been the Bruins' best line for probably a month now. Jelinski in particular was a real sparkplug, dishing out some big hits and scrapping with Matt Glowa early in the third.
Speaking of big hits, Perrault caught Johnson with a clean open-ice check late in the first, and was handed two for elbowing and a 10. Just one of many ridiculous calls we've seen this year on huge, clean, open-ice hits. If that was elbowing, you may as well take open-ice hitting out of the game entirely.
On the injury front, Austin Yano missed the game after injuring his shoulder on Friday. The early prognosis is about two weeks. That would put his return right around the start of the survivor series against Notre Dame (which was clinched last night).
With Taylor Reich (shoulder) out 2-3 weeks, and Eric Baldwin (ankle) still on the shelf, it's possible the team could start the playoffs without all three. Ouch.