One of the most difficult road swings in recent history is now in the books for the Swift Current Broncos.
A 6-1 loss in Saskatoon tonight marked the end of seven straight games on the road over a twelve day span.
The Broncos have dropped all seven games on the trip and five of those losses were at least five goal deficits.
"Remember how this feels," said Broncos Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Dean Brockman before the game. "When you're working out in the summer, when you're thinking that you've done enough for that day... can you push it that much harder? It doesn't feel good when you're getting beat the way we're getting beat. So when you're training this summer maybe you should realize that I have to train a little bit harder. You have to realize the Western Hockey League is a tough league to play it. Remember that it's a grind. Those are lessons you can't teach. You have to experience it. I'm confident our group will learn from that."
After playing mostly hard fought games this season, the rebuilding Broncos have found more consistently tough results during a seventeen game losing streak over the last month and a half. With only four games left in the 2018-2019 schedule lot of things are catching up to them.
"I see a lot of guys that are worn out," Brockman noted during the pre-game. "Guys that are playing in positions they shouldn't be whether it's older guys or younger guys. It does take its toll. If you're a third line guy playing first line minutes it doesn't help. If you're a guy that was used sparingly in the previous year and are now playing big minutes against the best guys in the league it wears on you. When you don't have success it wears on you mentally. Mentally and physically we feel like we're exhausted, but you have to fight through it. The league is not easy. It's not forgiving... as coaches we have to make sure these lessons are being learned."
The first period saw both the Blades and Broncos struggle to find an offensive spark. It was scoreless with only eleven combined shots as the teams hit the intermission.
Saskatoon found their stride in the second period as Tristen Robins struck on a Blades power play. It took only 51 seconds after that for Kristian Roykas Marthinsen to deflect in a point shot and give Saskatoon a 2-0 edge.
The Blades then put the game out of reach when Ryan Hughes scored in both the last minute of the second period and first miute of the third. Dawson Davidson and Kirby Dach rounded out the scoring for Saskatoon.
Matthew Culling scored the lone goal of the game for the Broncos on a third period deflection of Austin Herron's point shot.
Riley Lamb made 41 saves for the Broncos in a losing cause, while Dorin Luding made 16 saves to take the victory for Saskatoon.
Matthew Stanley received misconducts in both the second and third periods as he looked to indicate fights and couldn't find a willing dance partner. Tyler Lees did have a brief scrap with Zach Huber.
Saskatoon extended their win streak to six games and have the WHL's best record since December 1st.
Swift Current is finally back on home ice Sunday afternoon as they play their third game in six days against the Prince Albert Raiders. It is the second last Broncos home game of the season.
Listen to Robertson Family Group Broncos Hockey at 3:30pm with puck drop just after 4pm at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.