The Humboldt Broncos have earned themselves a date with the Camrose Kodiaks in the final game of the 2003 Royal Bank Cup.
The power play told the story in the second semi-final, not the power play goals scored, but the chances wasted which determined this game.
Wellington was denied a goal on eight opportunities and Humboldt was 0-8 on the man advantage, with both teams playing well on the penalty kill.
“Penalties are something we are going to have to avoid tomorrow, Camrose has a great power play and we
can’t shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Broncos coach Bob Beatty.
Wellington goaltender Dayne Davis agreed the power play told the story.
“We had a lot of power plays we didn’t capitalize on and I think that was our downfall,” he said. “We came that close.”
Dukes head coach Marty Abrams may not have been pleased with his power play, but said his penalty killing unit was strong against the championship’s best power play.
“We killed off eight of their power plays and they came in at a power play percentage of 35. One half of our special-teams did their job on the penalty-killing but our power play was inconsistent during the play-offs,” said Abrams.
Beatty said his team will be ready for the final.
“We’ve got to bring a better game tomorrow if we want to be successful,” said Beatty. “It’s our last game of the year, if we can’t get ready for the Royal Bank Cup final then we don’t deserve to be here.”
Game-winning goal scorer Keith Reade said the team was able to play without the round-robin leading scorer because of good teamwork.
“Josh Podaima has had a great championship so far, so it’s been great for our team. Everyone has contributed all game and I just got a lucky bounce at the end and scored the winning goal,” said Reade.
The Broncos couldn’t dwell on losing Podaima, said Beatty.
“We can’t talk about who we lost, we just have to talk about what we have left.”
Wellington played a tough championship after losing their first two games and rebounding to make the semi-final game.
“A lot of credit to Wellington, everyone thought they were done after the first two games and they’re a great team. They got progressively better as them championship went on,” said Reade.
The Humboldt Broncos will meet the Camrose Kodiaks in tomorrow’s final game at 2 p.m.
It was a rough first period which saw nine penalties called between both teams.
Wellington had the first chance to take control of the game but could not capitalize on an early two-man
advantage registering just two shots on their inaugural power play.
The Dukes did manage to get on the board first with defenseman Derek Smith powering a four-on-four slap shot over Sean Connors’ glove from the top of the right face-off circle at 11:14.
Both teams were delivered a blow at the 12:28 mark of the period when Broncos’ forward Josh Podaima was given a five minute game-misconduct for checking Dukes’ defenseman Ryan Woodward to the head.
Woodward’s helmet game off before his head hit the game, sending a scare through the building. Woodward skated off the ice under his own power.
The second goal was also a four-on-four goal, but this time for the Humboldt. Keith Reade tied the game at
14:52 from about 6 feet out going over Davis’s glove.
Shots for the period were 14-8 for Wellington.
The second period saw Humboldt take charge on the ice, out shooting the Dukes 14-5, but unable to take advantage of their efforts on the scoreboard.
The Broncos’ scored on their first shot of the frame at 1:58 in when Scott Degelman beat Davis in close on the short-side.
Davis had a strong second period, keeping the Dukes in the game until Wellington could even the score.
On a two-on-one chance for the Dukes, Brent Vardy was able to bang a rebound goal past a sprawling Duke netminder after Tyler Rivers started the play by breaking up a Broncos chance at his blue line. Rivers then made an outlet pass to Warren Cooper who took the original shot before Vardy scored at 17:09.
It was a wide-open third period seeing chances for both teams. Both goalies stood tall until 17:21 when Reade scored the game winner after he drifted through the offensive zone seemingly with the puck on a string as he stepped around defenders until he found himself alone in the high slot. Reade snapped a shot over Davis’s glove sending the Broncoos to the final game on Sunday.
“I just got a feed from Degelman and I shot it, it hit the net and there was a rebound and Marshall shot
it. It was behind the net so I grabbed it and went to the top of the blue line.
“I wanted a slapshot but there was a guy in front of me so I toe-pulled it and they gave me all the space so I walked in and snapped a wrist shot over the goalie,” said Reade
Wellington played the final minute with an empty net, but they were unable to mount a substantial attack as Humboldt closed out the game.
Final Shots were 36-31 for Humboldt.