It was a special night for both a rookie and veteran Bronco.
Joel Hofer stopped 30 shots for his first career WHL shutout and Josh Anderson scored against his former team as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Prince George Cougars 4-0.
“I felt awesome,” Hofer said. “It was a good game... the boys played well in front of me. They made some big blocked shots in front of me and made it easy for me. It felt good.”
For Anderson it was his first game against his former team since being dealt from the Cougars to Swift Current at the trade deadline. He made it a memorable one converting a give-and-go with Artyom Minulin for his first goal with the Broncos.
“Josh is a big role model for us,” Hofer said. “He works hard in the room and I'm glad for him.”
Despite missing veterans like Aleksi Heponiemi, Sahvan Khaira and Kaden Elder from their lineup the Broncos still had control of the game from basically start to finish.
“Possession wise I thought we controlled the play,” said Broncos Associate Coach Ryan Smith. “I thought our power play was a little slow and sluggish but we got going. We just need to hit the net more. I thought their goalie was very good he made some really big saves early in the game. The score was fine for us... but we had some more opportunities to maybe make it a bigger score.”
Despite carrying the play almost from puck drop the goals didn't come fast and furious. Swift Current struck only once in each of the first two periods as Tavin Grant played well in the Cougars net and Prince George hung around.
Tyler Steenbergen and Matteo Gennaro had the Swift Current goals.
Hofer then expected an onslaught from Prince George and faced 20 third period shots.
“I was pretty dialed in,” Hofer said. “I knew they were going to come with a push in the third so I just tried to keep focused.”
As a backup goaltender Hofer doesn't play consistently, but has thus far taken advantage of whatever opportunity he has been given. The 17-year-old is 6-2-0-1 with a 2.61 goals against average and 0.917 save percentage.
“He's patient,” Smith noted. “He has to buy his time and when he's called upon he's ready. He works hard in practice, he's a great teammate and he deserves what he gets.”
The Broncos were able to add goals in the third period from Max Pattersona and Anderson to put the game out of reach.
Colby Sissons had a three point night, while Steenbergen and Gawdin each had two points in the victory.
The Broncos have now won three straight games and allowed only a total of two goals over those wins. Now only five points back of Moose Jaw for top spot in the WHL the team is having fun.
“A ton,” Hofer noted. “We have a really skilled group as you can see. We're having a lot of fun right now hopefully we can keep it going.”
Swift Current is off to Lethbridge on Friday for what should be an emotional game. There are four former Broncos on the Hurricanes and three former Hurricanes playing for Swift Current.
The Broncos will then visit Kootenay on Saturday night.