by Phil Ambroziak
The gate to the corral has been left open and the Meadow Lake Broncos are on the loose.
The Broncos were victorious in their Beaver Lakes Hockey League (BLHL) home opener Nov. 1 at PineRidge Ford Place on Flying Dust First Nation when they shut down the North West Rebels 11-3.
“We got off to a really slow start and they were able to get a couple of quick goals on us,” explained new Broncos coach Kevin Arnold. “This caused the guys to panic a bit before getting settled down and turning things around.”
The Rebels opened the scoring just 24 seconds into the game, and then added the next one about a minute later. At the 17:17 mark, Tyler Wilson put Meadow Lake on the board. The Broncos tied things up at 15:22 thanks to the efforts of Devin Piche while Broncos veteran Ray Ross gave the team a 3-2 lead at the 5:58 mark. The Rebels tied the game 3-3 at 2:18, but Meadow Lake pulled ahead with only 26 seconds remaining on the clock following a second tally by Wilson.
The second period was all Broncos, ending with a score of 8-3 thanks to goals by Craig Slater, Luc Rodrigue, Brandon Sinclair and Cliff Bear.
The Broncos would increase their lead even further in the third with another goal from Ross, another from Bear and one from Peter Gamble.
“We played all three of our goalies – Mike Opikokew, Jon Neufeld and Cody Bannerman – and Cliff Bear had a really good game,” Arnold continued. “He notched a couple of goals and was probably our player of the game.”
Arnold also recognized the efforts of Ross among others, adding all four lines had a strong night.
Arnold, who has extensive experience coaching minor hockey, replaces former Broncos coach Darryl Worms. He said he was more than pleased to accept the job when approached by team officials.
“Management had a meeting where I suppose they threw a few names out there, one of them which happened to be mine,” he noted. “I’ve been coaching minor hockey since the early 1990s – for about 15 years. They approached me with the offer and I accepted.”
This coming weekend, the Broncos will be in Big River, a confrontation Arnold said will be a measuring stick for the local team.
“Big River has always iced good teams,” he said. “We’ll see how well we do against them to get a better idea of where we currently stand in the league.”