Let's hit the trade first since it could come out while I'm writing this.
Craig Stein out of Yorkton says he's got a huge trade announcement coming up for (I'm assuming) the Terriers. I'm hearing that it's a league trade with a northern team. Could the Terriers become even scarier than they already are?
(edit) The Terriers acquired Justin Buzzeo and Jeremy Boyer from the Broncos for future considerations... wow. They also traded Riley Gillies to the Dauphin Kings of the MJHL for futures.
Still quiet on the Ice Wolves front, which doesn't mean too much because Coach Beatty is very tight-lipped about trades. However, if Yorkton does make a splash, along with Melfort already in the pool, the Wolves can't stay idle.
Now to the game tonight.
The Wolves laid a lickin' on the Broncos last time out. That 7-4 score was generous to the Broncos because of a couple soft goals in the third. It could have been a 7-2 final. Travis Eggum continued his dominance over Humboldt with yet another hat trick bringing him up to 37 goals in 37 games.
The Broncos have been a very strong team at home this season. They don't lose very often at the Elgar Peterson Arena, and they haven't played at home since the Swedish Under-17 team came through on New Years day. Expect the Broncos to be fired up tonight looking to avenge some lopsided losses this week.
One player to keep a close eye on is Taylor Piller. The Ice Wolves 20-year old and multiple ring-bearing forward always comes out to play against his old team. He potted a goal on Tuesday and was all over the ice. He's played some of his best hockey of the season against the Broncos.
This game for the Broncos is huge coming up to the deadline. There are all sorts of rumours about this team selling the farm and with 2 straight divisional losses, the teams behind them are closing the gap. A win over the Ice Wolves would help confidence-wise and to start rebuilding a cushion over the North Stars and Bombers.
This weekend is big for the Ice Wolves in the Standings. Both the Wolves and Mustangs are out on 3-in-3 road blitzes this weekend, and if either team stumbles... we could have a new division leader or the Ice Wolves could be safetly in front for a bit.
There are a great many storylines around this game that will become more clear as the games in Humboldt and Weyburn progress.
One part of the Ice Wolves game that Coach Beatty will want to start clicking again is the powerplay. The Wolves haven't scored a powerplay goal in 2011, in less impressive terms, 2 games. The Wolves have the best powerplay in the league and it's an important part of their game. It would be great to see it perform against the best penalty kill in the league tonight.
Let's hit the stats.
Ice Wolves vs Broncos
(25-10-0-2 - 52 pts) Record (20-16-0-1 - 36 pts)
1st in Bauer Standing 3rd in Bauer
25.4% PP% 24.9%
79.0% PK% 84.0%
Though they trail the Terriers by 2 points, the Ice Wolves have the most wins in the league at 25. They're also tied with Melfort for the least regulation losses in the league with 10.
The road has not been kind to the Broncos, so they'll be happy to be home. They are 10-4-01 on home ice compared to their 10-13-0-0 road record.
The Ice Wolves are in the rare situation of a team that is better on the road than at home. The Pack brings a 14-4-0-0 road record into Humboldt tonight.
Andrew Bodnarchuck would rather not face the Ice Wolves. He has a 6.38 GAA and a 0.841 Sv% against La Ronge this year.
Marc-Andre Carre hasn't scored against the Broncos this season... but he does have 8 assists. Mostly on Eggums seven goals.
The Ice Wolves have done a great job shutting down Humboldt's top scorers. In two games each, Buzzeo has 2 points and Boyer has 1 point, and it will stay that way with the B's on their way south.
A quick note, I'm going to do combined post game/pre-game posts this weekend cause its so busy.
The pre-game show will get going at 7:15 on MBC with lots to talk about with both coaches I'm sure. Puck drop is at 7:30.
I'll catch up with ya after the game!