Swift Current, Sask. – The Swift Current Broncos (20-17-0-1) held a 4-1 lead into the final minutes of play Saturday night, and withstood a furious push by the Prince George Cougars (17-18-4-0) to hold on for a 4-3 win.
The Broncos came out of the gate with one of their most dominant efforts of the season. Shots read 14-0 Broncos roughly 14 minutes into the game with Swift Current jumping ahead 1-0.
On their second power play of the period, Sam McGinley’s shot was blockered away by Tyler Brennan, and the rebound went to Brady Birnie in the left circle. Birnie quickly snapped a shot past a screened Brennan for his ninth of the year, continuing his hot streak with his 11th point in the past nine games. McGinley and Clarke Caswell picked up assists.
After a dominant opening 14 minutes, the Cougars got their first shot on net and tied the game. The puck came up to the blue line for Ethan Samson and he wound up for a heavy one timer, firing it past the blocker of Reid Dyck.
The Broncos goaltender argued about a potential goalie interference call, but the goal stood and the Cougars tied the game at one.
Just a few minutes later Swift Current would regain their lead. Mathew Ward picked up the puck in front of the Cougars bench before getting hammered down to the ice by Samson. Just before the collision, Ward slid the puck ahead for a streaking Josh Filmon who skated in on a breakaway, lifting a shot over the glove of Brennan to restore the lead.
Swift Current took the 2-1 lead into the intermission, outshooting Prince George 20-8.
After killing off 39 seconds of penalty kill to begin the second period the Broncos would add to their lead. Ward was denied on a one timer from the right circle, but Caswell gathered the rebound and set up Ward again, this time from between the dots, and he wired a shot over Brennan’s glove to make it 3-1.
The score remained 3-1 until late in the third period when Swift Current padded their lead. Connor Gabriel picked up a rebound in the left corner and threw to the net where it was redirected in by Braeden Lewis, giving the Broncos a 4-1 lead heading into the third period.
Dyck came up with one of his better saves halfway through the third period, denying Carlin Dezainde on a shorthanded penalty shot to keep the 4-1 lead intact.
The Broncos went to their fifth penalty kill of the game late in regulation and the Cougars cut into the lead. With Brennan on the bench to make it a six-on-four, Chase Wheatcroft tipped in his WHL-leading 17th power play goal with 2:37 left to make it 4-2.
Off the next faceoff, Brennan again went to the bench and Hudson Thornton scored from the left circle through a screen with 1:44 left to get the Cougars to within one.
Prince George continued to press off the next faceoff, but the Broncos were able to clear the zone multiple times and hang on for the 4-3 win.
Swift Current now prepares for another four-game week as they welcome the Medicine Hat Tigers (15-21-5-1) Wednesday night.
Announced attendance was 2,044, the highest attendance of the season.