The Swift Current Broncos held a two-goal lead midway through the third period but were dealt a bad hand the rest of the way as they fell by a 4-3 score to the Medicine Hat Tigers in overtime on Saturday night at the Canalta Centre.
Despite coming up just short in overtime, that single point earned proved to be critical as it positioned the Broncos into a first place tie with the Moose Jaw Warriors atop the WHL’s East Division standings.
Tigers forward Ryan Jevne recorded the first marker of the night as he whacked a puck out of midair from in close through the five-hole of Broncos goaltender Stuart Skinner.
The Broncos captain came to the rescue 3:35 into the middle frame as Glenn Gawdin turned up the rockets and zoomed down the left wing zone, before firing home his 51st goal of the year to draw his club even 1-1. Gawdin’s 51st goal marks the second consecutive season in which one Swift Current Bronco netted 51 goals, the other being his line mate Tyler Steenbergen in the 2016-17 campaign.
Period number three was eventful and full of action on all ends of the ice.
Broncos forward Aleksi Heponiemi resumed his hot offensive play as of late, taking advantage of a bad Tigers change and burying his 25th marker by going upstairs on Medicine Hat goalie Michael Bullion on a mini breakaway chance.
Artyom Minulin then crept in from the point when the Broncos demonstrated good pressure in Tigers territory with steady fore-checking and wired a low wrist shot to give Swift Current a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers refused to roll over though as forward Bryan Lockner capped off a nice individual effort from Mark Rassell to make it a 3-2 game.
Medicine Hat clawed back to force a 3-3 tie with exactly five minutes to go in regulation. Elijah Brown collected his sixth goal of the season as Gary Haden and David Quenneville drew assists.
The Broncos were shorthanded late when Colby Sissons received a delay of game penalty but Gawdin created a terrific scoring opportunity while shorthanded. The Bronco captain was stopped not once but twice by Bullion from in close.
Overtime was required to settle this wild affair and it was the Tigers that prevailed this time as Jevne went upstairs on Skinner at the 3:07 mark to send Swift Current to a tough 4-3 overtime loss.
Shots on goal were 38-31 in favour of Medicine Hat. The Broncos finished 0/5 on the power play while the Tigers went 1/3.
The Swift Current Broncos will get a few days to recoup as they prepare for a huge matchup against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday, February 21st at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex. First place could be on the line by the time that date rolls around. Puck drop is at 7:00pm CT.