There may not be a more exciting battle for the Broncos than the Battlefords North Stars.
On January 4th and 5th, the Broncos and the North Stars held a home and home set which was the 4th and 5th meeting of the season between the two teams. The Broncos prior to these two meetings had won the previous three matchups, with two needing overtime to be solved.
The front end of the home and home was a road game for the Broncos. The Civic Center, which is the usual home arena for the North Stars was being prepared for the Meridian Canadian Open Curling Tournament, so the contest was moved across the river to the Battleford Arena.
The Broncos were looking for their first win of 2019 and failed to grab the games opening goal as Matthias Urbanski scored 13 minutes in to give the North Stars the 1-0 lead.
The lead would be doubled courtesy of Owen Lamb, and after 40 minutes of play, the Broncos found themselves down 2-0 with an offense that looked stagnant through the prior handful of games.
Que Drew Warkentine, the Broncos forward with 11 goals in his first 13 games. Warkentine scored his first goal of the night with just over seven minutes remaining assisted by Owen Guenter and Kade Olsen to get the Broncos within one. 3:29 later, Warkentine struck again. This time on the power play assisted by Josh Patrician and Michael Clarke to tie the game at two. Overtime was needed for the 3rd straight game between the two teams, and guess who, Drew Warkentine was the hero to secure the natural hat trick and the game-winner for the Broncos. Wakentine's overtime goal was assisted by Logan Foster and Josh Patrician. Rayce Ramsay, making his second consecutive start, stopped 38 of 40 shots faced.
21 hours later the Broncos were inside the EPA looking to make it five straight wins against the North Stars and string together their first winning streak of 2019.
Once again Battlefords jumped out to the early 1-0 lead thanks to Dylan Esau's first goal of the season. However, this time, the Broncos found the equalizer just two minutes later, and once again it was Drew Warkentine. Warkintine, with the goal, provided the last five tallies for the Humboldt Broncos, every single goal scored following the holiday break. Warkntines equalizer was assisted by Owen Guenter and Josh Patrician on the powerplay.
A different type of special teams goal led to the Broncos first lead of the game. Logan Foster used his patented speed shorthanded to drive around the defenseman. He then slipped the puck under the legs of North Star goalie Joel Grzybowski for an unassisted goal and a 2-1 Bronco lead. The scoring in the first wasn't done there. Battleford's Elijah Loon-Stewardson would tie the game at two apiece. Then with 26 seconds left in the opening frame, Owen Guenter jumped off the bench for a perfectly timed line change and beat Grzybowski on a breakaway to send the Broncos to the locker room with a 3-2 lead.
The second period provided two more goals and one that got the hometown crowd on its feet courtesy of Humboldt's own Regan Poncelet. Poncelet's first of the season, assisted by Riker Franczak and Derek Patter proved to be the game-winner, as the North Stars would get within one, then run into Rayce Ramsay the rest of the way. Ramsay faced 40 shots for the second straight game. stopping 37 this time around and securing the 4-3 victory for the Broncos.
With the wins, the Broncos leapfrogged the North Stars and now sit in second place in the Ag Risk Division with their manes focused on Kindersley, who are four points up on the Broncos.
Next up for the Broncos is another home and home set against the Nipawin Hawks on January 11th and 12th.