Wednesday, 26 March 2014 04:25

Broncos’ Mr. Burns excellent in Game 3 win over Tigers

Written by  Brad Brown
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This Mr. Burns doesn’t own a power plant or a monorail or has an assistant named Smithers.

Nor does he need to.
In Swift Current, owning the Medicine Hat Tigers with a little help from Gordon and DeBrusk and Honka will do just fine.
Tuesday, over-age centre Nathan Burns extended an improbable hot streak by scoring the game’s first goal and assisting on Jake DeBrusk’s game winner as the Swift Current Broncos cut the Tigers’ WHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series lead in half with a 3-1 win in Game 3 at the Credit Union iplex.
Medicine Hat had won the first two games on home ice by scores of 2-1 and 4-2.
“It was nice to finally be on the right side of things coming out of a playoff game against Medicine Hat,” said Burns, who was with the Saskatoon Blades last year as they were swept in the first round by the Tigers. “I definitely remember last year.”
With the assist, Burns held the distinction of being in on all five Broncos goals to that point in the series – three goals and two assists.
The streak came to a close in the dying minutes of Tuesday’s game when rookie defenceman Julius Honka smiegled around a pair of Tigers out to centre and fired home an empty-netter to cap the scoring.
Rolling two forward lines for most of the game, with occasional cameos by the third line of Glenn Gawdin, Andrew Johnson and Zac Mackay, the Broncos shook off the slow starts that plagued them during the losses in Medicine Hat.
They pelted Tigers goalie Marek Langhamer with 11 shots in the first (compared to eight in the first periods of Games 1 and 2), 20 in the second and 38 overall.
Burns opened the scoring on a power play after winning a battle for position in front of Langhamer. Coda Gordon controlled the puck down low and fed Brycen Martin at the point, who kept his shot low and watched triumphantly as Burns tipped it in.
“We had a game plan going in to get pucks on net early,” said Burns. “In Medicine Hat we didn’t test him out enough early and tried to be too cute. I think we’ve corrected that problem and I think we’ll look at the game from tonight and see a big difference.”
Tigers sophomore Cole Sanford tied it up late in the period after Broncos captain Colby Cave turned the puck over to Curtis Valk, and Swift Current pressed and pressed but couldn’t convert in the second despite a three-minute power play (including a minute of 5-on-3) late in the frame.
The Broncos regained the lead with six minutes left in the game thanks to a costly turnover near the Swift Current blue line.
DeBrusk, the 17-year-old rookie, led Burns on a 2-on-1 rush and wristed a seeing-eye puck past Langhamer for the game winner.
“I gave it to him because I would have been on my one-timer side, but he saw an opening and took the corner (of the net),” said the left-shooting Burns, who took the right lane on the rush. “He’s got a heck of a shot and I’m glad he used it there. Seeing it go in was a great feeling.”
DeBrusk ended the regular season with 14 points in his final 10 games and now has three in his first three career playoff games. Both his playoff goals have been assisted by Burns.
“He’s really stepped up his game recently,” said Burns. “You can see it in the way he’s playing with more confidence and once you find your confidence in this league things really start to slow down for you.”
If DeBrusk’s heroics were overshadowed, it was only by goalie Eetu Laurikainen who made thunder-stealing pad saves on Trevor Cox and Tyler Lewington in the third to hold the high-scoring Tigers to one goal.
Laurikainen finished with 30 saves and improved his post-season save percentage to .938 in the process.
Game 4 was played Wednesday at the iplex, with Game 5 slated for tonight in Medicine Hat and Game 6 – if necessary – back in Swift Current on Sunday.

Read 8176 times Last modified on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 14:07

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