The Swift Current Broncos and Prince Albert Raiders met for the third time this season on Saturday night and it was physical from start to finish as Swift Current fought to the bitter end in a 6-4 loss.
Broncos’ forward Quinton Waitzner and Raiders’ front liner Jakob Brook dropped the gloves and exchanged punches as emotions were flaring early between these two East Division rivals.
Seconds after the issued penalties, Prince Albert was the first to get on the board as Carson Miller jumped on a rebound off a Max Martin point shot and tucked it home to give the Raiders a 1-0 advantage in the first period.
The East Division leaders kept coming as Noah Gregor recorded his 17th of the year to extend the lead to 2-0. Gregor’s goal came on a Prince Albert power play with Cole Fonstad and Sean Montgomery registering assists.
With Broncos forward Joona Kiviniemi in the penalty box for interference minutes into the second, Swift Current held off a ferocious Raiders power play for the full two minutes but Eric Pearce scored for Prince Albert just a mere few seconds later.
Kiviniemi then made use of a Broncos power play as the Finnish forward fooled Raiders goalie Donovan Buskey with a knuckler from the high slot that found the back of the net. The goal by Kiviniemi marked his eighth of the season with Owen Blocker and Connor Horning earning assists on the play.
The strong physical play continued as the hard hitting was demonstrated from both clubs and another fight broke out as the Raiders Kody McDonald and Broncos Matthew Stanley each received five-minute majors.
Sean Montgomery tacked on a shorthanded tally to grow the Raiders lead back to three at a 4-1 margin late in the middle frame.
However, Swift Current’s never give up approach was in full display in the third period. With the home team down 5-1, Broncos forward Alec Zawatsky buried his team leading 10th of the season with under eight minutes to go in the third and that was followed by a beautiful goal from defenceman Connor Horning. The 17-year-old blue liner made a nice move from the point to find open ice along the wing and then cut back toward the goal and fired a good wrist shot by Buskey to narrow the gap to 5-3.
The Broncos had a power play late in the game and pulled Hofer for the extra attacker but Montgomery notched an empty netter to give Prince Albert a 6-3 lead.
Broncos forward Matthew Culling added one late for Swift Current while Ethan Regnier recorded two assists in the 6-4 loss.
Shots on goal were 31-26 in favour of Prince Albert. Swift Current clicked for a pair of power play goals on seven attempts while Prince Albert went 1/2 on the man advantage.
The Broncos now head north to battle the Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday, December 15th to close out the first half of the 2018-19 season. Puck drop is slated for 7:00pm CT.