Pictou County Weeks Crushers 1 - Humboldt Broncos 4
BRONCOS INTO SEMI-FINAL AFTER DOMINANT WIN OVER CRUSHERS
After a rougher road than expected, the Humboldt Broncos are right where everyone thought they would be – into the semi-finals at the 2008 RBC Cup.
The Schroeder brothers – Scott and Steven – combined for five points as the Broncos clinched a spot in the final four of the National Junior A Championship with a 4-1 win over the Weeks Crushers on Thursday afternoon in the final round robin game for both.
Needing a win over the winless Oakville Blades to wrap up a spot on Wednesday, the Broncos turned in an uncharacteristically poor defensive performance, falling 7-6 to the Central Region champions.
They made sure there would be no repeat on Thursday, holding the Crushers to just 26 shots on goal, while they directed 46 towards Weeks goaltender Alexandre Quessy.
After spending much of the opening 10 minutes in the Weeks zone, the Broncos were finally rewarded when Steven Schroeder – Humboldt’s player of the game – picked up a loose puck off the end boards and snuck a shot past Quessy.
Knowing that a win would clinch a semi-final spot for them, and eliminate the Broncos, the Crushers fought back, and pulled even on the powerplay less than five minutes later, as a point shot from captain Scott Lavigne – Weeks’ player of the game – hit a Humboldt defender on the way in and deflected past netminder Taylor Nelson.
Quessy stood tall in the first period, stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced to keep the game close, but the floodgates opened in the middle frame.
Mitchell Stretch gave the Broncos the lead for good just 37 seconds after the period’s opening face-off, rifling a point shot over the shoulder of Quessy, and Steven Schroeder and Matthew Kirzinger added goals in a period dominated by the West Region champions, who outshot Weeks 18-4 in the period.
Weeks pressured the Broncos in the final 20 minutes, outshooting Humboldt 12-8, but could not get a puck past Nelson, and now must wait for the outcome of tonight’s Camrose/Oakville game to determine their playoff fate.
If Oakville wins, the Crushers will watch the remainder of the tournament from the sidelines – but a Camrose win puts Weeks into the semi-finals by virtue of their overtime win over the Blades on Monday night.