The Swift Current Broncos and Red Deer Rebels met on Saturday night for the first of four regular season matchups and it was the Rebels that claimed the first installment, beating the Broncos 5-2.
Broncos rookie netminder Isaac Poulter made his first career WHL start on Saturday night and he was spectacular in the first period of play. The Winnipeg, MB product blocked all 15 shots sent his way, including a huge save to deny the Rebels’ Chris Douglas on a breakaway opportunity.
The game remained scoreless until the early moments of the second period when Swift Current found themselves shorthanded after Poulter took a delay of game penalty. Brandon Hagel took a long cross ice feed from Alexander Alexeyev and calmly shot it into the back of the net to give Red Deer a 1-0 lead.
Penalties were troublesome for the visiting Broncos as forward Alec Zawatsky received a holding minor at the 6:53 mark which led to a power play goal from Red Deer blue liner Dawson Barteaux.
Things did not go in the Bronco favour in the third period as Red Deer scored three goals in a 4:07 span as Austin Schellenberg, Zak Smith and Josh Tarzwell all netted their first goals of the season.
Tarzwell’s goal came on a shorthanded rush that built the Red Deer lead to 5-0 but Swift Current finally broke their offensive drought in the back half of the third.
Rookie forward Matthew Culling picked off a Red Deer turnover and whipped one by Rebels goaltender Byron Fancy to make it a 5-1 score.
Swift Current was then awarded a five-on-three power play when the Rebels committed a pair of minor penalties. Connor Horning found twine to make it 5-2, ripping a perfectly placed one-timer by Fancy’s glove side with Alex Zawatsky and Max Patterson earning assists.
The Broncos got another power play late in the contest but no comeback was in the cards as they dropped to 0-4-0 on the season in a 5-2 defeat.
Shots on goal were 40-26 in favour of Red Deer. The Broncos power play finished 1/6 while the Rebels went 2/5 on the night.
Swift Current returns home to faceoff against the Regina Pats on Friday, October 5th at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm.