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Wednesday, 10 October 2012 15:52

Broncos goalie starting to Finn-ish well

Written by  Brad Brown
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Swift Current Broncos Notebook

After paying the price early in the season for a handful of bad bounces, defensive lapses and his teammates’ discipline issues, Swift Current Broncos goalie Eetu Laurikainen found his mojo last weekend and picked up some early-season hardware for his efforts.


The rookie Finnish netminder stopped 71 of 73 shots last weekend in wins over the Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats, enough to be named the Canadian Hockey League’s goaltender of the week prior to the Broncos’ 3-2 loss Tuesday to the visiting Red Deer Rebels. Laurikainen made another 29 saves Tuesday’s loss at the Credit Union iplex and goes into this weekend’s play with a sparkling .920 save percentage.
“I think it all starts in goal,” Broncos head coach Mark Lamb said after Saturday’s win over Regina. “Laurikainen and Bow ... we’ve had good goaltending in every game this year. We’ve had points in every game this year. And I think that’s the biggest difference.
“It gives our team confidence. It makes our defence better, it makes our forwards better, and I think that’s where it starts.”
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Laurikainen’s understudy, 17-year-old Landon Bow, staked his claim to the backup job Sept. 29 with a 42-save performance at home against Saskatoon. Three days later, the Broncos re-assigned 18-year-old goalie Steven Myland to the junior B North Delta Devils.
The Broncos also re-assigned 19-year-old defenceman Eric Walker to the BCHL’s Port Alberni Bulldogs, getting the roster down to seven blueliners.
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Swift Current’s 10-1 win Oct. 5 against Saskatoon was the first time this year a team scored double digits in the WHL.
Adam Lowry’s four-point night matched a career high and was his first since Dec. 10, 2011 against the Kamloops Blazers.
The game also marked a career-high three-point night for Levi Bews, and a career-high four-assist game for defenceman Reece Scarlett.
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Entering Tuesday’s home date with Red Deer, 13 different Swift Current Broncos had scored at least once this year and eight Broncos had at least two goals. Only the Prince Albert Raiders and Kelowna Rockets, respectively, ranked higher in those categories.
Lowry’s team-leading five goals have him on pace to be the first Bronco since Jeremy Williams in 2003-04 to score 50 in a season.
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More from the numbers geek: Don’t let the Broncos’ 3-0-3-1 record fool you – as of Tuesday afternoon they ranked third in goals per game, fourth in goals against per game, first in power play efficiency and fifth in penalty killing.
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Upcoming games: Friday @ Regina Pats, Saturday vs. Portland Winter Hawks, Wednesday vs. Everett Silvertips, Oct. 19 vs. Saskatoon Blades, Oct. 20 vs. Tri-City Americans, Oct. 21 @ Prince Albert Raiders.

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