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Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:42

Broncos getting ready for season after training camp

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Team White goalie Landon Bow pounces on a puck while team mates Zach Gonek (#37) and Richard Nedomlel (#24) move in against Team Black’s Zac Mackay (#25) during the intra-squad game on Aug. 26 that concluded the Swift Current Broncos’ training camp. Team White goalie Landon Bow pounces on a puck while team mates Zach Gonek (#37) and Richard Nedomlel (#24) move in against Team Black’s Zac Mackay (#25) during the intra-squad game on Aug. 26 that concluded the Swift Current Broncos’ training camp. Matthew Liebenberg/Prairie Post

The makeup of the Swift Current Broncos team for the 2012-13 season will start taking shape after their weeklong training camp.

 

After two days of orientation for the nine players from the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, the training camp got under way on Aug. 22. The format included fitness testing on the first day, dry-land training, on-ice sessions and scrimmages.

The daily scrimmages, which saw the players being split into four teams, started on Aug. 23 and it was also an opportunity for hockey fans to get their first look at some of the young talent that will help to build the team.

The training camp concluded on Aug. 26 with the Black and White intra-squad game. Team Black secured a 5-0 shutout with the help of Finnish import goalie Eetu Laurikainen and 2012 draft pick goalie Travis Child.

Yorkton's 17-year-old Tanner LeSann caught some attention by scoring a goal, an assist and getting into a fight with Sine Chadi. It earned LeSann the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” title and helped him along to the final group of 32 players that were left after camp.

Broncos Head Coach Mark Lamb was happy with what he saw on the ice.

“Training camp was excellent,” “I thought the scrimmages were competitive ... and it’s making the decisions for the coaching staff and scouts very tough.”

With only three players, including captain Taylor Vause, reaching the end of their WHL career last season, there is a large group of returning players. Lamb was pleased with the physical shape of the veterans.

“You could tell they really bought into the summer workout program plus they really worked on their diet,” he said. “All the veterans came back in excellent condition, which is a great example for our young guys on what type of condition you have to be in at the start of training camp.”

Among them was winger Adam Lowry, who missed the second half of last season with a hand injury. He immediately made an impression at camp, scoring two goals in his first scrimmage.

“He looks bigger, better and he looks awesome out there,” Lamb said. “I’m thinking he’s going to be one of the best players in the league.”

While Lowry and Coda Gordon will be obvious choices on the top line, Lamb said the team will try out various options for the third player to join them.

“We might even put Lowry in the middle, at centre and try somebody on his wing,” he noted. “We’d like to fill it internally but if we can’t we’ll go out and make a trade. We’ve got a lot of options, we’ve got a lot of depth on our team now where we can go out for something that we really need.”

Lamb felt there will be a strong group of players to take care of the blue line during the season.

“Right now I think that’s going to be the strength of our hockey club,” he said. “We have nine guys that we think can play in the league, so the competition on D is really hard.”

The camp provided the 2012 draft picks with their first introduction to the team and Lamb felt they all played well. Centerman Glenn Gawdin already had a contract coming to camp. Goalie Travis Child and defenseman Maxime Lajoie also got contracts at camp.

All three stayed on to play in the team's rookie game against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Aug. 28, where Gawdin scored the team's only goal in a 3-1 loss. They will return home after the team's trip to Edmonton this weekend to play in the Oil Kings exhibition tournament.

Lamb is in no hurry to make decisions about the remaining 29 players who will still be around after the weekend games.

“They’ll tell us over the course of the exhibition games,” he said. “We can be patient to what we’re doing now. We don’t need to make any big decisions and hard decisions and decisions we’re going to regret when we move on.”

The team's pre-season schedule includes a Sept. 7 game against the Moose Jaw Warriors in Maple Creek and a Sept. 15 game against the Prince Albert Raiders in Gull Lake.

The Broncos will play their season home opener on Sept. 22 against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

 

 

Read 1155 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:57
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer