Broncos hang on down stretch, triumph over Hitmen
The Swift Current Broncos held off a pesky Calgary Hitmen club on Wednesday night to pick up a 3-2 victory and remain alive in the hunt for first place in the WHL’s East Division picture.
Jakob Stukel potted his 35th goal of the season for Calgary with 14 seconds remaining in the first period to score the lone goal of the first period, completing a sweeping move to slide one past the outstretched pad of Broncos goaltender Stuart Skinner. .
Fresh off signing an NHL entry-level deal with the Arizona Coyotes, Tyler Steenbergen scored his 45th goal as he redirected a low wrister from Aleksi Heponiemi by Hitmen netminder Nick Schneider.
Glenn Gawdin blasted home a one-timer from the left faceoff circle on a Broncos power play to put his club ahead a goal 2-1 at the 17:41 mark. The goal marked the captain’s 56th marker of the season with Heponiemi and defenceman Colby Sissons registering the assists.
The Hitmen kept scrapping as forward Tristen Nielsen went bar down on a Hitmen man advantage late in the second period. The Broncos almost made it to the break unscathed but Nielson scored when there was only two seconds on the clock.
Heponiemi picked up his third point of the evening by forcing a Calgary turnover and netting the tie breaking goal minutes into the final period of play. That stood as the eventual game winner as Skinner made eight of his 26 saves the rest of the way to seal the win.
Shots on goal were 38-28 in favour of Swift Current. The Broncos power play went 1/6 while the Hitmen capitalized once on two man advantages.
Swift Current’s record now stands at 47-14-4-2, good enough for 100 points, becoming the second WHL club to break the century mark, joining the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Broncos will pack their bags and hit the road for a two-game East Division swing beginning on Friday night against the Brandon Wheat Kings. This matchup will be their eighth and final meeting of the 2017-18 regular season. Puck drop is set for 7:30pm CT.