Broncos Buck the ICE out of the Playoffs

By Jeff Bromley
Revenge, they say, is a dish best served
cold. For B.J. Boxma it is a dish that
will probably taste sweeter, if you’ll
excuse the pun, on ice. Boxma, the
former Kootenay ICE goaltender who
was traded to the Swift Current Broncos
for a third round pick in this year’s
Bantam draft to get the chance at being
a starting goaltender in the WHL,
decidedly had the last laugh on his
former teammates as the Swift Current
Broncos downed the Kootenay ICE 3-2
in the seventh and deciding game of the
WHL semi-finals to take the series 4-3
and move on to face the Red Deer
Rebels in the Eastern Conference final.
For Boxma and the Broncos, the game
was an almost perfect example of how
to win a game on the road in the
playoffs. Even though it was a seventh
game Boxma felt the pressure was
squarely on the shoulders of the ICE. “It
was a hard fought series,” said Boxma.
“We thought they had all the pressure
on them being at home. We just had to
come out and play solid defensively and
capitalize on our chances and that’s
exactly what we did.” In beating his
former club and in the process, beating
his former goal-tending mate in Dan
Blackburn, Boxma has now come full
circle and emerged from Blackburn’s
shadow in proving to everyone that he is
indeed a number one goaltender in the
WHL. “Danny’s a great guy but when
we’re out on the ice we’re enemies,”
said the Edson, Alta. native
affectionately known as ‘Boxer’. “I for
sure wanted to come in and win the
series no matter how many games it
took and I guess I can look back be
thankful for the trade. They (the ICE)
gave me the chance to play and there’s
no hard feelings .”

The play from the onset seemed spotty
and apprehensive by both clubs with the
edge going to the Broncos as the ICE
were playing somewhat uncomfortably
and seemed to fighting the puck in their
own zone. Call it seventh game jitters
perhaps being from only the second
seventh game in their young five year
history but on this night the ICE looked
like they were running out of gas. The
ICE struggled all evening long under the
auspices of the Bronco’s formidable
forecheck that gave the ICE d-men fits
trying to get the puck out of their own

That was no more evident than on the
first Bronco goal as Dean Serdachny
corralled a clearing attempt by the ICE
and sent a shot in on Dan Blackburn
from the blueline. The rebound was
gobbled up by an unchecked Tim Smith
who lifted the puck over Blackburn to
put Swift Current up 1-0. Kootenay then
tied the score from a streaking Mike Lee
who rifled a wrist shot over the shoulder
of Boxma to end the first with the score
knotted at one.

In the second the clubs came out and
played some fast-paced hockey that
included spectacular saves at both ends
of the rink. Although out-shot by the
Broncos 14-7 in the second frame, the
ICE hung in as the teams traded markers
by Richard Hamula and Paul Deniset
and the clubs remained deadlocked at
two going into the third frame. If the
first two periods were indicative of
shoddy play within their own zone by
the ICE and spectacular goal-tending by
Dan Blackburn, the third became a
period of frustration as B.J. Boxma shut
the door on the ICE on numerous
occasions including what turned out to
be the save of the series when Boxma
stoned Jarret Stoll from in close that
was thought to be a sure goal. With the
ICE pressing just moments later, an
odd-man rush developed for the
Broncos as Tim Smith fed a pass to a
wide open Duncan Milroy who tucked it
under a sprawling Dan Blackburn for the
eventual game-winner.

Quick Hits -The game’s three stars
were the three graduating players from
the ICE who had played their last game
in the WHL. Mike Lee, Brett DeCecco
and Dean Arsene all received standing
ovations from the ICE faithful….The
third line for the ICE, Lee, Hamula and
Colin Sinclair were far and away the
best line of the night for the ICE. In
spectacular fashion, Mike Lee probably
had his best game in an ICE uniform…
In an eerie twist of irony, former
Kootenay ICE star and current
Edmonton Oiler Mike Comrie scored
the O.T. winner for the Oilers over the
Dallas Stars to tie the NHL playoff
series at two at about the same time the
ICE were being eliminated from the
WHL playoffs.