The Swift Current Southwest Terminal PeeWee Broncos had a good showing at home during their 12-team home tournament over the weekend. They won once, lost twice, and tied a game over the weekend.
"I thought they played really well," said head coach Todd Hornung. "We have struggled as of late finding ways to win. But the effort they put in, especially today, shows that we had a lot of strong teams come to our tournament and the way they played we know that we can play with anybody. It is about playing 60 minutes and not 20 or 40."
The PeeWee Broncos trailed the Regina Mustangs 3-0 after two periods in their tournament opener Friday afternoon. They made a dramatic turnaround in the third period with three unanswered goals to earn 3-3 draw. Aaron Toews was in on all three goals in the comeback, including the tying goal on the powerplay with 9:04 left in regulation as well as scoring the second goal on a beautiful two-on-one feed from Reed Jacobson. Matt Christianson scored to start the comeback and added an assist on the third goal. Ryland Hornung, Daylan Radtke, and Nathan Levac also added assists. Brad Nyen earned the draw in goal.
They took on the Taber Golden Suns later that evening and lost 4-2 to finish third in their opening pool. Beau Larson and John Priela scored in the loss with assists from Cameron Kluzak and Levi Lamotte.
Swift Current took on the Regina Buffaloes Saturday and won 6-2 behind a five-point outing from Jacobson. Jacobson scored the Broncos’ first three goals and added assists on the next two. Mac Gross added three assists and Toews had a goal and an assist. Levac and Christianson also scored, while Hornung and Priela added single assists.
The win moved the hosts into the C Final on Sunday afternoon where they put up a good fight in a 5-3 loss after allowing an empty net goal in the dying moments. Hornung and Christianson each had a goal and an assist, while Priela also scored. Theo Schlamp and Toews added assists.
Hornung and his coaching staff feel that the team is starting to make strides.
"I have seen a lot of improvement. Coming into this year we knew we only had four guys coming back. The speed of the game is quite a bit different but the adjustments are being made and guys are getting used to playing and we are starting to make smarter decisions. It’s preparing in the room before and coming to the rink ready to play. I think we have progressed a lot and hopefully the last couple months of the season we are just going to keep taking one more step at a time every week."
The team certainly looks more organized on the ice.
"Yeah they are really starting to learn what we are trying to do,” said Hornung. “We have spent a lot of time doing video lately, we have had a couple of sessions, then in practice and we are constantly on the bench and in the room we are going over the board and the boys are starting to pick it up. You watch and you can tell there is a more structure than definitely at the start of the year."
Hornung said the 12-team tournament has an excellent reputation.
"It went really well, really smooth. I heard a lot of compliments from other teams. Not a lot of tournaments allow full games with floods between every period, so I think it is a big draw for Swift Current the tournaments we put on. There is line-ups for people to come, we could have had a 24-team tournament."
He said it took a significant commitment to run such a large event.
"Our volunteer effort was mostly our parents, they all stepped up. We have to work the penalty boxes, the gates, the 50/50, and the prize tables. The amount of effort and time spent by all the parents here this weekend is huge. It is a big fundraiser for our team so I am very appreciative for all the work they have done."
The Broncos will resume their South Sask PeeWee AA Hockey League schedule this weekend when they visit the league leading Weyburn Wings (9-1-1) for two games. The PeeWee Broncos have struggled to a 3-11-2 record in league play so far this season but are hoping to gain some momentum from a strong weekend at home.
"They are a good team and we will be in tough," said Hornung. "But we are playing well and I hope we just continue this effort."