The Swift Current Broncos (0-1-0-0) and Calgary Hitmen (1-0-0-0) combined for just 37 shots on net Friday night, and Maxim Muranov’s third-period goal stood up as the game winner as the Broncos fell 2-1 to open the 2022-23 season.
The Broncos found themselves behind early as they were called for two penalties 50 seconds apart just a few minutes after puck drop. Less then 30 seconds into the two-man advantage, Carson Wetsch fired a one timer past the blocker of Reid Dyck for his first WHL goal to put Calgary up 1-0.
The Broncos found their legs in the back half of the period when they received some power play time of their own. Swift Current hemmed the Hitmen in their own zone for extended periods and were able to rack up shots on net, but Ethan Buenaventura turned aside all eight shots sent his way in the first period as Calgary took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Swift Current kept up the pressure to start the second period and would eventually tie the game. Luke Mistelbacher found a loose puck at the side of the net, picked it up and went behind the Calgary net before wrapping it around on his backhand, scoring his first career WHL goal to pull the Broncos even.
The Broncos were forced to kill off two penalties late in the second period as the two teams went into the locker room deadlocked at one.
Early in the third period, Muranov found a loose puck behind the Swift Current net and was able to slide home a rebound chance after walking out in front to restore Calgary’s lead at 2-1.
Penalties came up again in the third period for the Broncos as they took three penalties over the span of 2:06, including two too many men penalties, but the penalty kill unit stood tall, surviving the extended pressure from Calgary to keep the game 2-1.
Calgary then took a penalty to put the Broncos on the man advantage, which turned into a 6-on-4 as Dyck went to the bench for the extra attacker, but the Broncos weren’t able to solve Buenaventura again, dropping a 2-1 game.
The two teams meet again Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
Announced attendance was 1,793.