The Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen squared off for their fourth and final meeting of the regular season on Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. A shootout was needed to determine a winner and the Hitmen’s Tristen Nielsen netted the winner in the eighth round to send the Broncos to a devastating 3-2 loss.
Ryley Lindgren fired a low wrist shot by Hitmen goaltender Kyle Dumba to give the Broncos a 1-0 advantage midway through the first period. Aleksi Heponiemi set up Lindgren for the goal, earning his 47th assist and 68th point overall to lead all WHL rookies.
Matteo Genaro answered the call for Calgary at the 10:30 mark of the second period as he completed a move around the net and fired a high wrist shot by Broncos goaltender Jordan Papirny to tie it 1-1.
The Broncos continued to match the Hitmen’s physical presence with strong fore checking and puck movement. On a rush from the neutral zone, Kaden Elder entered Hitmen territory and found Lindgren who went low again on Dumba, beating him for his second goal of the night.
Swift Current was down in the shots on goal battle 21-15 through 40 minutes but carried a 2-1 lead.
With the Broncos holding down their one-goal cushion in the latter half of the final frame, the Broncos penalty kill play was costly as Brady Reagan’s high wrist shot from the left point found the back of the net and it was a 2-2 game.
Overtime was required and the three-on-three play was entertaining and stressful at the same time as both clubs traded several quality scoring chances, but Papirny was steady in stopping all seven Hitmen chances.
The Broncos and Hitmen went eight rounds in the shootout before Nielsen scored the eventual winner to end the Broncos four-game winning streak.
Swift Current went scoreless on the power play, going 0/3 while Calgary wrapped up the night 1/4. Shots on goal were 33-23 in favour of Calgary.
The Broncos return home for a three-game home stand beginning with the East Division leading Regina Pats on Wednesday, February 15th at 7:00pm CT.