Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Wings hold off Broncos for first win of season

~ Submitted by Steven Wilson, Golden West Radio

The Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings jumped out to an early lead in their game against the Humboldt Broncos Monday afternoon, and held on to pick up a 5-3 victory, their first of the season. 

They worked hard for it,” said head coach Cody Mapes after the game. “We had some goals we wanted to meet and we met the majority of them, and when you do that as a group you usually end up on the right side of the scoreboard as well.”

It took until late in the first period to get the scoring going, but when it did, Weyburn managed to build up a big lead. It started with a goal from Dante Ballarin with 3:29 left in the first period. The tally was assisted by Nikolas Sombrowski. 

Then, Weyburn would get a goal on a short-handed rush from Brandon Kasdorf. The tally was Kasdorf’s first of the season. The Wings took advantage of a breakdown by the Broncos, and rushed in. A pass over from Jacob Kalin to Cayde Augustine was broken up in front of the Humboldt goal, but Kasdorf was the trailing man, and fired the puck past Humboldt’s starting goalie, Liam Stevens.

Weyburn would add to the lead just 1:16 into the second period. Jacob Jakusz notched his first as a Red Wings. Sam Skillestad and Davis Chorney assisted on the goal, their first points as Red Wings.

The third goal from the Wings would end the game for Stevens, who was replaced by Rayce Ramsey. 

The change in net sparked the Broncos, in particular, Alec Saretzky. He would score at the 3:04 mark of the period, assisted by former Red Wing Connor McGrath. The power-play goal would be answered just over two minutes later, though. 

At the 5:07 mark of the second would see the Wings restore the three goal lead as Braden Birnie found the back of the net for his second of the season, assisted by Chorney and Jakusz. 

Humboldt would then take advantage of another power-play to cut into Weyburn’s lead. Saretzky scored his second of the game to make it 4-2, assisted by Connor Hough and McGrath. Then, early in the third period Saretzky would finish off the hat trick, assisted by Braiden Koran, to make it a 4-3 game. 

Penalties were a key factor in the game, with the Red Wings giving up eight power play opportunities, and even losing defenseman Graham Skinner in the third period after he was given a two minute minor and game misconduct for a hit from behind. However, working on the penalty kill would pay off for the Wings, as they prevented an equalizer goal.

In the final moments of the game, the Wings would put things away when Drew Kuzma scored his first of the year with 1:16 left to play. The goal, which came with just one second left in a late power-play, was assisted by Kalin.

The rough stuff didn’t end at the final buzzer, though. The Broncos were pushing to score in the dying seconds, and as the final buzzer sounded, a few players engaged in some extra-curricular activities, including a fight between Weyburn’s Austyn Hansen and Humboldt’s Connor Casparie, a scrap that Hansen didn’t look too excited to be involved in. Whether any supplemental penalties will happen as a result will be determined in the coming days. 

The Red Wings took the bus home after the game, as they aren’t back on the ice until Wednesday, when they finish off the Showcase against the Nipawin Hawks. They will take advantage of the gap to be able to sleep in their own beds, and get a skate in Tuesday morning.