A bounce back performance was needed and was delivered as the Swift Current Broncos skated their way to a 5-3 win over the Kootenay ICE in a game that was filled with twists and turns from start to finish.
Swift Current allowed the opening goal for a second straight night as ICE forward Brett Davis scored just as the Broncos managed to kill off the first of two straight minor penalties. The goal came when the Broncos were shorthanded five-on-three with Martin Bodak and Colton Veloso earning assists.
Artyom Minulin made use of the Broncos top ranked power play in the Western Hockey League, one-timing a rocket from the left faceoff dot to tie the game 1-1. Tyler Steenbergen made a nice one touch pass to the 19-year-old blue liner to set up his 11th goal of the campaign.
Gawdin then jumped on the attack and buried the Broncos second goal of the frame 1:28 after Minulin’s marker. The Calgary Flames prospect crashed the net and quickly zapped in his 42nd marker off an initial perimeter shot from Max Patterson.
The ICE tied it up a short while later as Alec Baer got a good release off from the slot area to beat Broncos goaltender Stuart Skinner.
Swift Current had trouble staying out of the penalty box, taking four minor penalties in a period where they were outshot 21-9 but held a 2-2 tie going into the second period.
Penalty troubles continued for the Broncos as Gawdin, Steenbergen and Tanner Nagel all got calls against them four minutes apart into the frame. Davis made the opportunity count as his turn around shot found the back of the net for his second power play marker, temporarily putting Kootenay up 3-2.
The Bronco captain made sure this game wouldn’t get out of reach. Gawdin tipped in his second goal of the night while parked a couple feet from the ICE crease. Matteo Gennaro let a solid wrist shot go from the right perimeter and Gawdin deflected it in to force a 3-3 tie less than a minute before the second period expired.
Gawdin then scored the difference maker midway through the third period as the 20-year-old centreman skated hard to the net and once again, smacked in a rebound chance halfway through the frame. A scrum soon followed between several players from both clubs causing a bit of a delay. Gawdin was charged with four minutes in penalties for spearing while the ICE’s Veloso earned a roughing minor and goaltender Duncan McGovern got a match penalty and was ejected from the game.
Once the dust settled, Swift Current came away with a three-minute power play which led to a terrific goal from Gennaro. The 20-year-old waited patiently for ICE goaltender Matt Berlin who had just entered the game to commit and when he did, Gennaro swifted a fore-hand back-hand move to beat him low pad side.
The Broncos backstopper Stuart Skinner attempted a 200 foot shot with the ICE net empty and came within a foot of scoring his second ever WHL goal. In a wacky finish, there was no goal for Skinner but he did gather 36 saves to earn his sixth victory as a Bronco.
Shots on goal were 39-37 in favour of Kootenay. The Broncos went 1/5 on the power play while the ICE finished the game 2/7.
Gawdin now has 24 points over a 13-game point streak and has 97 points (44g-53a) overall to sit second in the WHL point scoring race while Sissons finished the night with four assists to put himself tied for first in scoring amongst WHL rear guards (11g-48a).
The Broncos will enjoy some time off until Friday, February 9th when they welcome the Prince Albert Raiders to the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex. Puck drop is at 7:00pm CT.