Print this page
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 15:46

Broncos’ top guns looking for answers to scoring drought

Written by  Brad Brown
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Ryon Moser is in a nasty slump himself. Ryon Moser is in a nasty slump himself.

He shoots, he … doesn’t score. It was a bumpy October for the Swift Current Broncos.

 

They opened the month with a 10-1 road win over the Saskatoon Blades, then scored just 21 goals over their next 11 games while going 4-7.
Some nights, like their 5-2 win Oct. 26 over the Kootenay Ice, they show flashes of what brought them modest success early in the year. Others, it appears they’d have better luck finding Waldo than the back of the net.
What gives?
“I don’t think you can pinpoint it on any one thing,” said team captain Adam Lowry. “Our power play’s execution the last 10 games has been poor … then we were getting some breaks early on where pucks were bouncing in and now they’re either hitting the post or the goalies are making big saves.
“Teams are definitely keying on us and … we just need to get back to the way we were playing. Sometimes we’re gripping our stick too tight or trying to make one too many passes, and we just need to simplify our game.”
To be clear, with 17 points in 17 games to start the season, an ever-improving stride and size to spare, Lowry is no candidate for disappointment of the year.
His recent selection to Team WHL for the annual Subway Super Series would attest to that.
But the season’s peaks have been met with an equal number of valleys and Lowry, along with linemate Coda Gordon, are still trying to climb their way out of the latest one.
Lowry, alternating between centre and left wing, and Gordon at right wing have been the two constants on the Broncos’ No. 1 line this year.
They combined for seven goals and nine assists in Swift Current’s first six games. Of their next 12 games, neither was able to score in eight of them and they were held off the scoresheet entirely in four of them.
Entering Tuesday’s road game with the Prince Albert Raiders, Gordon hadn’t scored since a gorgeous tic-tac-toe play with Lowry in a 6-3 loss to Portland on Oct. 13.
The mixed results led head coach Mark Lamb to break them up Oct. 23 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. After the 4-0 loss they were promptly reunited.
“It’s been a little struggle right now to score some goals but all we’ve got to do really is start getting some more shots on net,” said Gordon, who potted 30 goals as a rookie in 2011-12. “We haven’t been getting as many shots as we usually do and if we go hard to the net we’ll start creating stuff off of that.”
In fairness, Lowry and Gordon are far from the only two Broncos forwards struggling at the moment. They’re just the highest profile.
They’ve had plenty of help in prolonging the Broncos’ current scoring slump.
Entering Tuesday, Graham Black has two goals in his last nine games. Ryon Moser hasn’t scored in 11. Levi Bews has three goals and Colby Cave one in their last 12 games.
Fan favourite Josh Derko — arguably the hardest working of them all — hadn’t scored in 15 games, his longest such streak since his rookie season of 2009-10.
And one-time bantam phenom Brent Benson, now in his third WHL season, was still looking for his first goal of the season after putting up 13 last year and 14 the year before.
Gone, most nights, is the speedy, hard-driving, confident team of seemingly forever ago. In its place is a tentative-looking group largely relegated to perimeter play, long wrist shots, and intercepted cross-ice passes.
 “I know our team isn’t a juggernaut of offence so we’re going to have to score a lot harder goals,” said Lamb. “Right now we’re not scoring those hard goals consistently.
“I thought in Kootenay we got a couple deflections and goals like that and that’s the way this team’s got to score. We don’t have a natural goal scorer so we’ve got to score by committee and at the start of the year we were doing that.”
Lowry also believes the game in Cranbrook could be a turning point.
“Those long bus trips and a couple nights in a hotel, you definitely get to know your teammates better and get a little closer,” he said. “There were definitely some pranks that were being pulled, just things like that. It’s always nice to get away.
“I know we’d been struggling at home and we’ve played well on the road this season where there’s a little less pressure. It’s nice to try and quiet the buildings sometimes and we try and thrive in that situation.”

Read 1313 times Last modified on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 15:49