The Humboldt Broncos have given their loyal supporters and diligent directors a huge reward with their first Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League championship in 14 years.
Humboldt coach Bob Beatty would like to add two more rewards during the next 32 days, as his players prepare for the best-of-seven Anavet Cup championship against the five-time Manitoba Junior Hockey League champion OCN Blizzard.
“I think we needed it, as a community,” said Beatty. “I hope we can continue.”
The Anavet Cup and the Royal Bank Cup national junior A championship are the next goals for Humboldt, which has a 51-14-6 record and three overtime losses in 74 games overall.
Defencemen Craig Olynick, Brendan Vanthuyne, Colin Johnson and Mark Bradshaw have been among the offensive leaders for Humboldt during a 12-2 playoff run. Veteran goalie B. J. Sklapsky has also been outstanding.
“Craig Olynick has been great all season,” said Beatty. “We have had excellent leadership from he, Johnson, Vanthuyne and Bradshaw.
“Part of our game is to bring offence from the back end. Craig and Colin have delivered.”
Humboldt native Olynick tied for second among league playoff scorers with 17 points, including 10 assists, in 14 games. He is among three Broncos with seven goals in the playoffs.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Olynick has 24 goals and 63 points in 70 games overall. He tied for second among league defencemen with 17 goals and was sixth among league defencemen with 46 points in 56 regular-season games.
Vanthuyne, 19, and Johnson, 21, were second and third among league playoff defencemen with 10 and nine points in 12 and 14 games, respectively. Bradshaw, 20, tied for fourth among league playoff defencemen with seven points in 14 games.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Johnson has 18 goals and 52 points in 74 games overall. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Bradshaw has 44 assists and 48 points in 73 games overall.
Sklapsky, 20, has been a playoff workhorse. He led league playoff goalies with a 12-1 won-lost record and was second among league playoff goalies with a 2.85 goals against average in 780 minutes.
“He has probably been our most valuable player in the playoffs,” said Beatty. “He made a lot of big saves.
“We won a lot of one-goal games, in the regular season and playoffs. He has given us confidence with his saves.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Sklapsky has a 35-10-5 won-lost-tied record in 2,995 minutes overall. He has three shutouts and a 2.92 goals against average.
Sklapsky was second in the league with a 23-9-5 won-lost-tied record and was third in the league with a 2.95 goals against average in 2,215 minutes during the regular schedule.
Veterans Keith Reade, Joe DeMichele, Jeremy Wray and Orrin Hergott are among Humboldt's leading forwards. But depth has been a forte since the start of the season.
“We play four lines,” said Beatty. “It’s been our philosophy all along.
“It pays off at playoff time. Everybody is ready.”
Right winger Reade, 20, leads the Broncos with 41 goals and 93 points in 74 games overall. Centre DeMichele, 21, has 39 goals and 80 points in 71 games overall.
Reade tied for fourth in the league with 36 goals and was fifth in the league with 82 points in 60 regular-season games. DeMichele tied for sixth in the league with 35 goals and tied for 16th in the league with 67 points in 57 regular-season games.
Centre Wray, 20, led Humboldt with nine goals and had 14 points in 13 playoff games. Centre and Humboldt native Hergott, 20, had seven goals and 14 points in 13 playoff games.
Humboldt had 26 power-play goals and operated at 25.2 per cent efficiency with a man advantage in the playoffs. It’s another strength that suggests OCN will have to be disciplined when the Anavet Cup begins April 19 in The Pas, Man.
The Anavet Cup champion will advance to the Royal Bank Cup scheduled May 3-11 in Charlottetown, P. E. I.
Please check the CJAHL web site at www.cjahl.com for all your Canadian junior A information