The Yorkton Terriers beat the Humboldt Broncos 4-1 in the SJHL Hall of Fame Game back on November 18th.
The Broncos haven't lost in regulation since.
They're 14-0-1 since Nov/18, and are winners of their last 12. Taking it a step further, they're 18-1-1 in their last 20 games. Go back to October 28th, when the Broncos were 8-8-1-1, they've gone 21-2-1 in 24 games since.
This Bronco team is a lot different from the one the Terriers saw on November 18th. Since then they've added the likes of Taylor Duzan, Emrik Guillemette, Jonathan Parisien and goaltender Colin Dzijacky. The scratches that night also included former Terrier Robbie Ciolfi, along with John Lawrence, Taylor Johnson, and Adam Antkowiak. So, it's almost an entirely different roster altogether now.
Humboldt's depth chart is, in a word, "frightening." Four lines, six D, and two goalies who are all solid, impact guys.
The Terriers played Humboldt three times, relatively early in the season, and played them well. They're 2-1 against them, and really, could have and maybe should have won the game they lost, being up 3-1, before Robbie Ciolfi took over and led the Broncos to a 4-3 win. Tonight's meeting is the final one of the regular season.
At the Elgar Peterson Arena, the Broncos are 16-2-0-1. The Terriers are also an impressive 10-6-1-1 in road games (excluding the Showcase).
A win tonight would make the Broncos the first team in the league to hit 30 W's. Tonight's game is also their league-high 43rd of the season. Just 15 left for them after tonight.
Humboldt leads the league with 170 goals scored (just over 4 per game). The next highest is Weyburn with 154.
The biggest surprise, with all those goals, Humboldt's powerplay ranks 9th in the SJHL, at 18.1%. Their 4th ranked PK (82.6%) helps off-set that, and their league-leading 9 short-handed goals. Yorkton's powerplay continues to impress, sitting 2nd best at 25.4%, just under one percent back of Estevan for tops.
I half expected to see Ciolfi with the bulk of Humboldt's 9 SHG's. After all, his first 4 goals as a Terrier came while on the penalty kill. He's got just one, while Andrew Johnston, and defenseman Kameron Ballas lead the team with 2. Trent Cassan and the Terriers know full well that Ciolfi's dangerous in all situations, including on the PK.
Former Swan Valley Stampeder Ryan Marshall, and Johnston are the only two Broncos to suit up in all 42 games so far. Three Terriers have ironman streaks going, with Devon McMullen, Riley Paterson and Zak Majkowksi playing all 38 Terrier games.
Kale Thomson has started all three of Yorkton's meetings against Humboldt, and he's been great. 2-1, 2.35 GAA, .926%. Without asking the coaching staff yet, it could be his turn again. Warren Shymko got both Melville games, while Dawson MacAuley played in Melfort on Wednesday.
Riley Paterson leads the Terriers with 5 points (2g-3a) in three games against Humboldt, and scored one of the nicest goals of the season in that Hall of Fame game, an end-to-end unassisted effort. Andrew Johnston had 4 points (1g-3a) in three games against the Terriers.
**PROGRAMMING NOTE** We won't have much of a Pre Game Show, with tonight being Ukrainian Christmas Eve. Carols will run from 7:00 to about 7:27, and I'll take it from there. We're also carrying the Christmas Eve service from St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church starting at 10:00, which means, I'm off the air by 10:00 sharp, whether or not the game's over. Barring a lengthy injury or a pane of glass falling out, or something of that nature, that shouldn't be a problem.
Talk to you tonight.