It’s a bit of déja-vu.
The Humboldt Broncos once again claimed victory in the first two games of their playoff series, this time against the Battlefords North Stars.
About 875 fans attended the first game of the Bauer conference final series, played Friday, March 16 at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt.
The Broncos were coming off a 10-day break, earned by winning their first playoff series four games to none over the LaRonge Ice Wolves.
The Stars, meanwhile, had only two days to recoup after their Game 7 win over the Nipawin Hawks in their first playoff round.
The Broncos seemed to use their lull between games to sharpen their skills, as they took a commanding lead in the first period of Game 1.
Joey Davies scored the first goal of the night for Humboldt at 2:44 of the first. Assists went to Emrik Guillemette and Josh Roach.
Humboldt scored again, this time on the power play, at 5:22, thanks to Robbie Ciolfi, who was assisted by Ryan Marshall and Roach.
The Stars managed to get on the board with a goal at 7:12, but the Broncos took back their two-goal lead with a point, again by Ciolfi, at 19:22. Assists on that goal went to Andrew Herle and Matt Glowa.
In the second, the Broncos came out hard again, scoring three more goals in that 20 minutes of play.
Humboldt made it a 4-1 game with a goal at 2:11, again by Ciolfi, giving him a hattrick. Logan Sproule got the assist.
The score went to 5-1 with a goal by Adam Zbitniff at 3:23, assisted by Roach and goalie Matt Hrynkiw; then to 6-1, with a goal by Guillemette at 10:53, with assists by Davies and Jonathan Parisien.
The Stars added a second goal to their total at 12:12 of the second, then a third at 3:36 of the third period.
But the Broncos decided a three-point lead just wasn’t enough.
They added a seventh goal at 5:37 of the third, scored by Davies and assisted by Marshall and Mathew Backhouse. An eighth point was put on the board at 5:53 on a penalty shot by Marshall.
The Stars kept at it, and added a fourth goal at 15:42, then Bronco Ciolfi decided a hattrick wasn’t quite enough for him, so he scored a ninth point for the Broncos at 18:24.
Final score: 9-4.
Penalties were light throughout the game. Humboldt was one for three on the power play, while the Stars were zero for four.
The Broncos were actually outshot by the Stars 33 to 27, but Hrynkiw was the obvious winner when it came to goaltending over the Stars’ Graham Hildebrand.
Ciolfi was an obvious first star of the game, with second and third honours going to Roach and Davies.
The next night, the Broncos again dominated, though the score wasn’t quite so high.
In front of 2,106 fans at the North Battleford Civic Centre, it was the Stars who actually scored first, on a power play at 5:16 of the first period .
The Broncos tied the game at one with a goal by Adam Zbitniff, assisted by Adam Antkowiak, at 14:11 of the first.
They then took a 2-1 lead with a power play goal of their own at 11:14 of the second, scored by Josh Roach with assists to Taylor Johnson and Ryan Marshall.
An insurance goal was added at 2:26 of the third, thanks to Nathan Hudema. Assists went to Mathew Backhouse and Robbie Ciolfi.
Final score 3-1 Humboldt.
Penalties were a bit more plentiful in North Battlfeord, but were all minor until the third period.
Bronco Davies dropped gloves with Boyd Wakelin of the Stars at 13:55 of the third. Both got five-minute majors for fighting and game misconducts.
The Broncos were one for five on the power play in the game, and the Stars were one for four.
The Broncos outshot the Stars that night, 34 to 28.
Colin Dzijacky was in net for Humboldt.
The three stars of the game were all Broncos’ goal-scorers — Zbitniff, Roach and Hudema.
Game 3 in the series was played March 20 in Humboldt.