Steenbergen clutch, Broncos win regular season finale
Playoff fever continued on Saturday night at the Innovation Credit Union I-Plex as the Swift Current Broncos welcomed the Regina Pats for the back half of a home-and-home set to close out the regular season. The contest was gritty, physical and intense from start to finish, this time the Broncos reversed their fortunes and prevailed by a 3-2 score in overtime.
The first period displayed physicality and it is clear that these two teams don’t like each other. Pats forward Jesse Gabrielle took a pair of minor penalties in the opening minutes and that was followed by a tilt between the Pats’ Parker Gavlas and the Broncos’ Mackenzie Wight.
Pats defenceman Aaron Hyman scored courtesy of a rebound chance late in the period as the Broncos trailed 1-0.
Before the first period horn, heart and hustle led to a gritty goal from Kaden Elder. The 19-year-old forward never gave up on a scramble in front of the Pats cage and buried his 18th goal while getting knocked down in the crease area.
Jared Legien scored for the Pats on a power play midway through the second period, rifling one over the shoulder of Broncos netminder Stuart Skinner to give the visiting club a 2-1 lead.
Moments later, Broncos rookie blue liner Jacson Alexander released a low wrist shot from the point that was deflected through Pats goalie Ryan Kubic by Beck Malenstyn. The Washington Capitals prospect was positioned perfectly and earned his 17th of the season.
The Pats’ Scott Mahovlich and the Broncos’ Quinton Waitzner then exchanged hay makers in a tussle that resulted in five minute majors each for fighting.
Third period action saw both teams trade chances but for the second straight night, overtime was needed to break a 2-2 tie and get a winner.
On Friday night, the Broncos lost in Regina 3-2 but this time it only took 32 seconds for Tyler Steenbergen to rip one by Kubic and get a sold out crowd on their feet to commemorate a fantastic regular season.
Skinner had a solid bounce back performance with 30 saves while Kubic countered with 31 stops of his own.
Shots on goal were 34-32 in favour of Swift Current. The Broncos power play went 0/4 while the Pats clicked once on four tries.
The Swift Current Broncos finish the 2017-18 regular season with an impressive 48-17-5-2 record and second in the WHL’s East Division standings. Swift Current dominated the regular season series, boasting a 5-0-1-0 record against Regina in six meetings. They will welcome the Regina Pats for Game 1 of their Round One set to begin the postseason on Friday, March 23rd at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex. Puck drop is at 7:00pm CT.