Records: Vees 54-4-0-2 / Broncos (SJHL) 42-11-5
Playoffs: Vees 12-2-0-1 / Broncos (SJHL) 15-3-0
Vees RBC Cup Schedule
Saturday, May 5th vs. Soo Thunderbirds (2-1 L) 3pm MT/2PM PST
Sunday, May 6th vs. Humboldt Broncos 7:30pm MT/6:30PM PST
Tuesday, May 8th vs. Woodstock Slammers 7:30pm MT/6:30pm PST
Wednesday, May 9th vs. Portage Terriers 7:30pm MT/6:30pm PST
The Set-Up: This is the game many have circled on the schedule as the marquee matchup of the preliminary round at the RBC Cup. The Vees face the host Humboldt Broncos, in what many think will be a Championship preview.
The Vees come in a different position than expected, bearing a 0-1 record and looking for their first win of the tournament after a 2-1 setback Saturday to the Soo Thunderbirds. The Broncos open their schedule with a 4-1 win over the Woodstock Slammers in the night cap.
Tonight will be treated like a must win for the Vees, as going into a 0-2 hole will create some headaches going forward. When you’re winless after two games, then you have to start relying on all the possible mathematical scenarios at work. A win tonight and the Vees are right back in the thick of things and looking good going into their final two round-robin games next week.
The Skinny: Vees
The Vees offense was stifled yesterday afternoon, held to just one goal on 45 shots in their loss to the Thunderbirds. In all of their games this season, playoffs included, the Vees were only held to one goal five times. As you can see, it has been rare for the Vees high octane offense to be held at bay.
Compounding the goal scoring struggles of the offense was the absence of Travis St. Denis for their opening game as he sat out with the flu. St. Denis is a key piece centering the top-line and anchoring the power-play and penalty-kill. It isn’t just the offensive boost he brings, but that grit factor that he provides to the Vees line-up. St. Denis can be a real sparkplug for the Vees when at times they need a kick in the pants. As I write this, St. Denis is a game time decision but I would expect to see the 19 year-old in the lineup.
Besides the addition of St. Denis, how do the Vees ignite their offense? They didn’t have trouble putting pucks on net but struggled to get to the rebounds from their initial attempts on goal. There were plenty of secondary opportunities in and around the Thunderbirds net yesterday but the Vees failed to capitalize on those chances. The Vees will need to fight through the traffic, drive the net with purpose, and get in the face of Matt Hrynkiw tonight. At this point, with the caliber of teams in the tournament, you’re going to have a trouble scoring from the outside. Teams are too good and the Vees will need to earn their chances, and when they do, they need to find their finish.
This only happens with their big guns playing at the level they can and have done throughout the season. The Vees had a few key offensive players who simply struggled to make plays at even strength and five-on-five. You’re on the national stage, playing the four best teams in the country; no time for passengers.
RBC / International Scouting Service Three Players to Watch:
very talented … dangerous offensively … good size … soft hands … speedy … competes at a high level … has natural ability … quick feet … good hands … unselfish … second-round pick of Minnesota in 2011 NHL draft
Has taken on a leadership role … excellent compete level … tremendous work ethic … good stick-handler … protects the puck well … knows how to get into scoring position … nice touch around the net … good skater
smooth skater … offensive defenceman … excellent mobility … plays in all situations … can rush the puck up ice … makes a good breakout pass … excellent point shot … fourth-round pick of Columbus in 2011 NHL draft.
RBC Cup Scoring
RBC Cup Goaltending
Garteig 0-1-0 / 2.00 GAA / .867 SV%
Doyle Cup Scoring
M. Reilly 1-7-8
St. Denis 1-6-7
R. Reilly 1-1-2
Garteig 3-1-0 / 1.76 GAA / .944 SV% / 1SO
Katunar 1-0-0 / 2.00 GAA / .923 SV%
St. Denis 4-9-13
M. Reilly 1-8-9
R. Reilly 3-4-7
Chad Katunar 12-2-0-1 1.74 GAA .938 SV% 2SO
Vees Scoring by Lines Playoffs
The Skinny: Broncos
The Broncos started the RBC Cup the way they wanted to with a win last evening. In front of a large, hometown crowd, the Broncos scored a power-play goal in the first and three even-strength goals in the victory. Much like the Vees, the Broncos boast plenty of depth on their rosters, especially upfront and last night showed. Four goals from four different players, one from a defenseman and eight players recorded at least a single point.
It was the same story throughout their 2012 playoff drive, as all but two players on their roster had at least one point in their 18 playoff games; 19 players had four or more points. Humboldt has three legitimate scoring lines and the fourth-line they iced last night combined for 23 points in the post-season. Head Coach Dean Brockman isn’t shy about rolling four lines throughout any game and when you get the type of production as the Broncos produced you see why.
Humboldt will again be energized by their home crowd, as over 1, 700 watched their win last night and the crowd should be near or above that mark tonight. It is certainly an advantage playing in front of your own fans, playing in your own rink and sleeping in your own bed and the Broncos took full advantage of that on Saturday.
The Vees will have to be aware of a couple dynamic players in Robbie Ciolfi and Andrew Johnston. Ciolfi was the Broncos top point producer in the post-season and might just be the most skilled Humboldt Bronco. Ciolfi has a good set of hands, as he can stick handle with the best of them and has a pro shot; just ask Matt Murray and the Woodstock Slammers. Johnston, the teams captain’s on-ice play is what the Broncos are all about; hard work. Johnston isn’t the flashiest player but has an engine that doesn’t quit and is a nuisance on the fore-check. The Broncos also have three big-bodies in John Lawrence, Emrik Guillemette and Adam Antkowiak that will be a handful in the offensive end. These three like to use their size to create space and cause havoc in front of the oppositions net. Guillemette and Lawrence have an offensive touch to their game can score in bunches, whereas Antkowiak embodies an energy role and likes to lean on defenders.
One could call the Broncos the Vees of the SJHL, as for the majority of the year they’ve been the best in the Prairies. The Broncos put together a 42 win season in a 58 game schedule. The Broncos, like the Vees, enjoyed a lengthy win streak, putting together 17 straight victories and didn’t lose a single game in regulation after November 18th.
Clash of the Titans?
Road to the RBC CUP: Broncos
Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League
Quarter-Final: defeated La Ronge Ice Wolves 4-0 (8-2, 3-2, 3-2, 6-2)
Semi-Final: defeated Battlefords North Stars 4-2 (9-4, 3-1, 7-1, 1-3, 1-2 OT, 4-3 OT)
SJHL Championship: defeated Weyburn Red Wings 4-2 (4-3OT, 2-4, 3-4 OT, 3-0, 4-2, 6-0)
West Regional: defeated Portage Terriers 4-3 (8-2, 6-3, 2-1, 2-3, 0-1, 4-5 3OT, 4-0)
RBC / International Scouting Service Three Players to Watch:
speedy centre … good vision … big-game player … good offensive instincts … quick hands … quick release … has a nose for the net … excellent hockey sense … very intelligent away from the puck … finds open space well
calm goaltender … technically solid … reads the play well … at his best when challenging shooters … communicates well with defensemen … very good focus … moves well laterally … very quick from post to post
high-end offensive skills … good size … power forward … controls the puck well off the cycle … soft hands … hard, accurate shot … good hand-eye coordination … most effective with the puck on his stick … confident
Broncos RBC Cup Scoring
Andrew Johnston 1-1-2
Emrik Guillemette 1-0-1
Josh Roach 1-0-1
Robbie Ciolfi 1-0-1
John Lawrence 0-1-1
Kameron Ballas 0-1-1
Matt Glowa 0-1-1
Ryan Marshall 0-1-1
Broncos RBC Cup Goaltending
Matt Hrynkiw 1-0-0 / 1.00 / .971 SV %
Broncos Playoff Scoring
Robbie Ciolfi 18-13-31
Ryan Marshall 13-17-30
Andrew Johnston 16-7-23
Josh Roach 5-17-22
John Lawrence 7-9-17
Matt Glowa 4-8-12
Matthew Backhouse 1-11-12
Adam Antkowiak 3-8-11
Joey Davies 4-6-10
Taylor Johnson 3-6-9
Kameron Ballas 2-6-8
Logan Sproule 1-7-8
Adam Zbitniff 4-3-7
Neil Landry 4-2-6
Andrew Herle 2-4-6
Emrik Guillemette 2-3-5
Chase Wharton 2-3-5
Jonathan Parisien 1-4-5
Taylor Duzan 1-3-4
Nathan Hudema 1-0-1
Cody Pettapiece 0-1-1
Broncos Playoff Goaltending
Matt Hrynkiw 8-1-0 / 1.73 GAA / .933 SV %/ 2 SO
Colin Dzijacky 4-3-0 / 2.55 GAA / .903 SV %
Matt Hrynkiw 3-2-0 / 1.62 GAA / .939 SV % / 1SO
Colin Dzijacky 1-1-0 / 3.00 GAA / .860 SV %
Broncos Team Leaders
Goals: Andrew Johnston (29)
Assists: Andrew Johnston (52)
Points: Andrew Johnston (81)
PPG: Josh Roach (6)
SHG: Adam Zbitniff (2)
GWG: Robbie Ciolfi (5)
Broncos Playoff Team Leaders
Goals: Robbie Ciolfi (18)
Assists: Ryan Marshall + Josh Roach (17)
Points: Robbie Ciolfi (31)
PPG: Robbie Ciolfi (6)
SHG: Robbie Ciolfi + Ryan Marshall (1)
GWG: Andrew Herle + Andrew Johnston + Josh Roach (2)
Broadcast: EZ ROCK AM 800 (Radio)
7:10pm MT/6:10pm PDT (Pre-Game) 7:30pm MT / 6:30pm PDT (Face-Off)