There was no grace period for the Humboldt Broncos as they got back to work following a lengthy 19 day Christmas break Friday night.
Soaring into the Elgar Petersen Arena was the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's hottest team, the Nipawin Hawks, winners of seven straight including three since their hiatus for the holidays.
In the opening 20 minutes it appeared the visitors would continue to claw past their opponents but the Broncos withstood a first period onslaught, scored the game's first five goals in the second and cruised to a 6-2 victory to move past Nipawin for fourth place overall in the standings.
Humboldt was out shot 22-6 in the first frame but Garrett Mason was tremendous holding the game scoreless.
Sporting an almost 100 percent healthy line up the Broncos big guns came out firing in the middle stanza.
Trevor Posch scored his 15th, Logan Schatz ripped his third past Kristian Stead and Chris Van Os-Shaw notched his league best 27th goal all within a minute in the early portion of the frame. Matthieu Gomercic added his fourth of the campaign at 14:01 and Dawson Atamanchuk was the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce which led to his fifth of the season at 17:04 giving the Broncos a 5-0 lead over a shell shocked Stead who allowed those goals on 21 shots.
Josh Bly did get the Hawks on the board in the second with just seven seconds to play, he beat Mason for his 11th of the year.
The Broncos didn't let that slow them down, Gomercic would add his second of the night, again with a man advantage making it 6-1 early in the third essentially halting any comeback attempt.
Eric Bolden capped the scoring with a meaningless marker at 9:37 making it 6-2.
"Obviously the first was a little bit of a grind but we got through it," Assistant Coach Brayden Klimosko boasted on the post game show. "The second period we came out hard, maybe a little bit of luck on our side, you know we won a big hockey game against a really good hockey team. It's nice to see and scoring six always helps."
Mason was superb, especially holding the fort in the first, overall the 20 year-old stopped 40/42, Stead didn't play the third, Declan Hobbs stopped 4/5 in relief.
Coming into the contest Stead owned the league's top save percentage but Klimosko said they managed a way to get to the 20 year-old puck stopper.
"You aren't going to get many prime opportunities through the middle where you are going to score some goals that way, you are going to have really work for it. You are going to have to score some greasy ones and tonight we got rewarded. Some nights you don't but usually if you work hard you are going to get those bounces here or there and tonight we got them for sure."
Special teams were a key component as well in the outcome, the Broncos were 3/6 on the power-play and a stellar 8/9 killing their own penalties.
Van Os-Shaw added two assists, as did Schatz. Posch sported a "Gordie Howe" hat trick with his third period fight with Josh Laferriere. Tristan Elder, Gomercic, Stephen Wack, Connor Swystun and Cole Young also picked up assists.
These same teams renew acquaintances Saturday in Nipawin. Face off is 7:30, the pre-game starts at 7:15 on 107.5 Bolt FM.
Elsewhere Friday night across the SJHL, the Battlefords doubled Estevan 6-3 in a battle of the league's top teams. Flin Flon out scored Kindersley 5-3, Melville bankrupted the LaRonge Ice Wolves 3-0 and Weyburn was grounded 4-1 at home versus Notre Dame.
You can hear more from Klimosko below as well as from Swystun who was the first intermission guest on the broadcast.