Barlage delivers the shootout winner, Broncos get past Blades
A third period surge was just what the doctor ordered for this Swift Current Broncos squad as they delivered a ferocious comeback to down the Saskatoon Blades by a score of 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday night.
Saskatoon started the game with a spark as they scored two goals within the first 1:18 of the game. First it was Caleb Fantillo banking one off the back pad of Broncos goaltender Joel Hofer, quickly followed by a goal from forward Michael Farren.
The Broncos answered the call a couple minutes later as Conner Chaulk snapped in his sixth of the season to cut the score 2-1. Riley Stotts and Artyom Minulin collected the tallies on the play.
Swift Current then had an opportunity to draw even on the man advantage but a costly turnover sent Blades leading goal scorer Cameron Hebig on a two-on-two rush and he made no mistake going roof on Hofer. The Broncos trailed 3-1 after 20 minutes and held a slight advantage in shots on goal 13-12.
Alec Zawatsky deposited his fourth of the season early in the second period, releasing a backhander off the post and in to chase Hofer from the Bronco crease. 20-year-old goalie Logan Flodell entered the game in relief.
The top line got the Broncos back in this game as Glenn Gawdin wired a one-timer by young Blades netminder Nolan Maier and it was a 4-2 game 25 seconds into the final frame as fans were returning to their seats.
The three pistols kept buzzing as Heponiemi recovered a turnover deep in Blades territory to set up Gawdin for his second goal of the evening and Swift Current was back in it.
With the Swift Current net empty and plenty of time left on the clock, Artyom Minulin deposited the tying goal by handling the rebound off a Kaden Elder shot and smacking the puck in to draw even at four goals apiece.
Overtime would solve nothing and for the second straight home game, a shootout was required to get a winner. The Blades’ Kirby Dach and Broncos Aleksi Heponiemi would score to force sudden death and at that point, Logan Barlage played the heroic role, scoring on a fore-hand, back-hand move to complete the rally for Swift Current in a 5-4 final outcome.
Shots on goal were 37-33 in favour of Swift Current. Flodell was consistent in stopping all 18 shots he faced in relief. Swift Current went 1/4 on the power play while holding Saskatoon scoreless on their lone power play attempt.
The Broncos head north for a date against the Prince Albert Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday, November 24th. Puck drop is at 7:00pm CT.