The Stars did not come out in the first period the way I thought they would. I was expecting them to come out like they did with their backs up against the wall in the Nipawin series. But it was a good period for the Broncos. The Stars had flashes and good shifts and scoring chances but not nearly a full 20 minutes of strong play. The first incident of the game was when Landry collided with Miller. I think it was completely accidental and it was unfortunate that Miller and Landry went knee on knee. Very unlucky but I was glad to hear see that Landry was okay. The Stars first shot of the period should have been a goal. Blake Tatchell set up Breaden Johnson in the slot and he should have scored. Hrynkiw was given credit for a save so he must have gotten a glove on the shot. But Johnny had so much time to pick his spot and couldn’t score the goal. Hall, Miller and Ethier had a great shift later in the period where they cycled the puck well and got some good hits on the forecheck. Unfortunately they were behind a little over a minute later.
Kam Ballas was in his own zone near the boards and fired a 100 foot pass rink wide almost to the Stars blueline and right on the tape for Taylor Johnson he had a step on the D and passed out front to Andrew Johnston. The other Johnston was skating towards the net and cut through the slot taking the puck from his backhand to his forehand and burying the puck past Creech. 1-0 Broncos. They led 2-0 a little over 2 minutes later. Lawrence found Robbie Ciofli streaking down the wing and his shot from near the boards was well stopped by Creech but the rebound went right to the slot. From that angle I don’t think there’s much else Creech could have done with it. Andrew Herle got to the puck first and finished it off with the second goal of the game. 30 seconds before that goal the Stars had a couple chances including Blake Tatchell and a Jordan Ethier slap shot from the slot that didn’t end up in the back of the net.
The second period is when the game got away from the North Stars. They actually came out very strong and the first 3 minutes were their best minutes of the game, maybe the series, and it included a good penalty kill. Kyle Hall had a fantastic scoring chance skating down into the slot a little off towards the left side. He fired it into the glove of Matt Hrynkiw. The Stars only successful PK of the game came early in the period with Woody Klassen off for slashing. But just 6 seconds after Klassen had returned to the ice the Broncos took a 3-0 lead. Robbie Ciofli his 10th of the playoffs. He wasn’t done. But first there was an Andrew Herle hit on Blake Tatchell that led to a rare 7 minute power play for the Broncos. I didn’t see the hit live as I was following the puck. But having seen it on video I think it was a bad hit. It came from the blind side and there’s no way Tatchell could see it coming. It’s hard to tell where the point of contact was and I don’t think Herle targeted the head but still a hit that should have led to a power play. Instead there was no call so Brody Luhning jumped in and tried to fight Herle. Herle ended up under Luhning and didn’t get to fight, whether he turtled or not I have no idea, so Luhning got 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct. The Broncos scored during that power play and it was Ciolfi again. He now has more goals in the playoffs than anyone else has points.
Shortly after that Ciolfi had another chance and just missed as he swooped through the front of the net. He then went into the corner and on his way was shoved from behind by Klay Kachur. He’s not a dirty player but it wasn’t a good hit. After seeing the video I would say the Refs got that call bang on. That hit set off a fight. Kachur and Joey Davies went and the penalties ended up being 5 for hitting from behind and a game plus 5 for fighting to Kachur and 2 for instigating and 5 for fighting to Davies. But because another fight was going on at the same time Kachur and Davies also got game misconducts for the second fight in the same stoppage. Kachur will also see supplementary discipline and I am not sure when we will see him again in this series if at all. The other fight was Robbie Newton going after Jonathon Parisien. They each got 5 for fighting and Newton got an extra 2 for roughing that was from earlier on during the play. So all the penalties evened out except Kachur’s hit from behind major and the Broncos had close to 5 minutes of 5 on 3 time. They scored twice during that passage to head to to the locker room after 40 minutes of play leading 6-0.
The third period saw a couple goals and a couple of hits worth noting. The first I will discuss was Blake Tatchell on Robbie Ciolfi in open ice. Having missed it in real time, again I am sorry about that, I saw it on video. Perfect hit in my opinion. Didn’t jump, hit Ciofli shoulder to shoulder and he didn’t come from the blind side. After the game it sounded like Ciofli was okay and could play tomorrow. That’s good news and that’s a perfect hockey play. A solid check without an attempt to injure and the guy who got hit is okay. If that happened every time it would be perfect. Andrew Johnston got 2 and was thrown out for a hit from behind on Ethier. I didn’t see it and I didn’t see a replay. Have to trust the officials on that one.
The Stars broke Matt Hrynkiw’s shutout with a little over 11 minutes to go in the game. Roger Tagoona scored the goal after a point shot from Brody Luhning went to Breaden Johnson and he found Tagoona for the goal. The Broncos got a late one on a power play when Brett Miller got an elbow up on Herle I think it was. I don’t it was intentional but it was a good call by the officials. That late power play goal made the final 7-1.
I have to say I didn’t expect that score in game 3. The Stars all season have shown so much fight and determination that I was surprised with their first period. But I have learned never to count these guys out. They have great fighting spirit and they aren’t done yet. It’s not going to be easy and they might not play again after tomorrow night. I don’t know what will happen. But until this team is eliminated I will continue to believe they can fight through adversity.
Game 4 is tonight at the Civic Center with the Stars looking to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Broncos.