Estephan, Skinner help Broncos take Game One
For the first time since 2001, the Swift Current Broncos participated in a WHL Eastern Conference Championship game with the first of a best-of-seven set vs. the Lethbridge Hurricanes going Friday night at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex.
Former Lethbridge Hurricanes Giorgio Estephan and Stuart Skinner made a big impact in the Broncos 3-2 victory over the Canes in Game One.
The first period was all about both goaltenders who were traded for one another prior to the WHL Trade Deadline in January. Broncos netminder Stuart Skinner turned aside 18 shots while Logan Flodell was steady in making 10 stops in a scoreless but entertaining, physical first period.
Broncos forward Max Patterson scored the first goal of the WHL Eastern Conference Championship as he took a centering ice pass from Kole Gable and got his shot by Flodell to give Swift Current a 1-0 lead 6:15 into the second. Linemate Kole Gable intercepted a clearing attempt from Flodell along the boards and immediately whipped a pass to Patterson to set up the goal.
Estephan tallied his fifth of the postseason later in the frame on a Broncos power play chance to make it 2-0.
Lethbridge refused to roll over as they made a comeback in the third period. Former Swift Current d-man Matt Stanley took a snap shot on a loose puck in Broncos territory and found the back of the twine to cut the Broncos lead in half 2-1.
Then while Glenn Gawdin was sitting in the penalty box for a high-sticking penalty, Hurricanes blue liner Calen Addison wristed one through traffic by a screened Skinner to tie the game at two goals apiece.
Swift Current’s last three playoff games on home ice had gone into overtime so forward Aleksi Heponiemi made sure that streak wouldn’t extend. The Florida Panthers prospect found some open ice near the slot, received a pass from Gawdin and snuck a good wrist shot under Flodell’s blocker side to give Swift Current a one goal lead.
Skinner was solid the rest of the way, finishing with 39 saves to earn his ninth playoff win of the 2018 WHL Playoffs and send Swift Current to a Game One victory by a score of 3-2.
Shots on goal were 41-30 in favour of Lethbridge. The Broncos power play clicked once on three attempts while the Hurricanes man advantage went 1/4.
Game Two goes Saturday, April 21st at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm.