The Swift Current Broncos (28-32-1-3) outshot the Red Deer Rebels (42-17-3-3) 28-15 over the final 40 minutes of play Friday night, but two goals in the first period was all Red Deer needed on the way to a 2-0 final score.
Red Deer thought they had opened the scoring 3:30 into the game, but the goal went under review. After a lengthy discussion by the officials at the penalty box, the ruled that Reid Dyck intentionally knocked the net off its pegs moments before the Rebels scored, negating the goal but sending the Broncos to the penalty kill as Dyck was given a delay of game penalty.
On the ensuing power play, Jayden Grubbe took a cross-crease pass and fired in a power play goal to open the scoring for Red Deer 4:37 into the game.
The Broncos went to their first power play of the game 11:47 into the first, but weren’t able to take advantage and tie the game. Just seconds after getting back to even strength the Rebels added to their lead.
Ben King skated down the wing and into the left circle before trying a backhand shot that he fanned on. The puck slid near the top of the crease and was tapped in by Jace Isley to make it 2-0 Rebels.
Braeden Lewis had a breakaway shortly after the Isley goal, but put the puck wide of the net on the glove side of Kyle Kelsey. Red Deer took the 2-0 lead into the intermission, outshooting the Broncos 16-6.
The tide started to turn for the Broncos near the halfway mark of the second period as they strung together multiple shifts of sustained pressure in the Red Deer zone. Swift Current limited Red Deer’s chances over the majority of the second period as the Rebels recorded just five shots on net in the middle frame.
Tensions flared late in the period when Josh Filmon poked at Kelsey’s glove after he had covered a loose puck, causing Craig Armstrong to headlock Filmon and drag him to the ice. Sam McGinley came to the defence of his teammate and the Broncos would end the period on the power play.
Swift Current ramped up the pressure in the third period, outshooting Red Deer 20-10 over the final 20 minutes, but were denied by Kelsey at every turn. One of the better chances was a short breakaway for Birnie who tried to sneak a shot through the five hole.
The Broncos ran into penalty trouble late in regulation however, getting called for penalties at 17:12 and 19:40 as the clock wound down on a 2-0 final score.
The two teams meet again Saturday night in Red Deer. You can hear the game live on the Eagle 94.1 FM with Living Sky Casino Broncos Hockey starting with the pre-game show at 6:30pm.