Boston Pizza Recap: Broncos fall to Winterhawks to begin U.S. swing

Keith Dwiggins

Portland, Ore. The Swift Current Broncos (22-19-0-2) made a hard push in the third period on Friday night, but the Portland Winterhawks (32-8-2-1) scored two empty-net goals to fend off the comeback effort, handing the Broncos a 6-3 loss.

The Broncos got out to a wonderful start Friday night, outshooting the Winterhawks 5-0 in the opening minutes and jumping out to a 1-0 lead.

Ryan McLeary turned the puck over at his own blue line, allowing Connor Hvidston to skate in down the left wing and cut across the crease, sliding the puck past the left skate of Jan Spunar for his 11th of the season. The goal was unassisted and came 5:23 after puck drop.

After failing to connect on their first power play of the night, the Broncos went to the penalty kill and the Winterhawks started gathering momentum. While they didn’t score on the power play, they would tie the game just seconds later.

After holding the puck at the Bronco blue line, Chaz Lucius skated down the slot and fired a shot past the blocker of Reid Dyck 12:34 into the period. Portland continued to pressure in the Broncos zone following the goal, but Dyck held the fort and allowed the Broncos to get to the intermission tied 1-1 despite being outshot 17-8.

Much like the first period, the Broncos got out to a strong start in the second, restoring their lead. Caleb Wyrostok chipped the puck to himself as the gained the Portland line and was able to muscle the puck through the five hole of Spunar 4:43 into the period.

Portland was very opportunistic on their scoring chances, and took advantage of a turnover to tie the game. After a D-to-D pass by the Broncos at the Winterhawks blue line misfired, Portland skated ahead with a four-on-two rush.

Lucius took a pass from the left-wing boards and fired a shot past the blocker of Dyck, once again tying the game.

A few minutes later, on their third power play of the game, Portland took their first lead when James Stefan finished off a cross-seam pass from Lucius to take a 3-2 lead with 5:51 remaining in the period.

The Winterhawks then capped off their strong second half of the period by scoring in the final minute. Portland poked the puck down low as the Broncos were skating out of their own zone and Robbie Fromm Delorme banged in his own rebound to make it 4-2 heading into the second intermission.

Swift Current thought they had gotten to within one when Josh Davies scored on a shorthanded breakaway. He took a flip pass from Owen Pickering, knocked it out of mid-air and scored on the backhand, but the goal was reviewed and taken back as the officials said Davies knocked the puck down with a high stick.

A few minutes later the Broncos got another breakaway and this one counted. Josh Filmon fired a shot under the blocker of Spunar to get the Broncos to within one with half a period to go.

Dyck made four huge stops to keep the game within reach for the Broncos, leading to Swift Current receiving a power play with 3:18 remaining. A minute into the power play, the Winterhawks forced a turnover and fired the puck into the empty Broncos net from their own zone to make it 5-3.

Less than a minute later Portland scored another empty netter to make the final score 6-3.

The Broncos look to rebound tomorrow night at the Angel Of The Winds Arena against the Everett Silvertips (22-20-1-0.

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