The Swift Current Broncos (26-31-5-2) saw two two-goal leads disappear against the Lethbridge Hurricanes (27-30-3-1), but Raphael Pelletier’s 5-on-3 power play goal in the third period stood up as the winner as the Broncos won 6-4 on the road Wednesday night.
The Broncos couldn’t have asked for a much better start as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:19 into the game. Josh Davies poked the puck past a pinching defender, setting up a two-on-run rush through centre.
Davies then centered for Karson King who took the pass, faked the shot and pulled the puck to his backhand, lifting a shot over the pad of Bryan Thomson for his ninth goal of the season. The goal extended King’s point streak to seven games.
Swift Current then added to their lead just over a minute later. Ty Hurley had the puck in the right circle of the Hurricanes zone and flipped it back to the point for Kayen Sadhra-Kang. The Broncos defenceman then fired on goal with traffic in front, and Rylan Gould got a stick on it, deflecting it under the glove of Thomson to put the Broncos up 2-0 just 2:48 into the game.
The Broncos carried that early 2-0 lead through the first of the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Lethbridge 15-9.
After failing to connect on a power play early in the second period, the Broncos went to the penalty kill for the second time in the game and the Hurricanes would capitalize.
Just 16 seconds into the power play, Yegor Klavdiev took a pass and skated down the left wing of the Broncos zone before firing a wrist shot past the glove of Isaac Poulter, cutting the lead down to 2-1 5:51 into the second period.
The goal certainly sparked the Hurricanes as they began controlling the majority of play in the second period, hemming the Broncos in their own zone for lengthy periods at a time. They would pull even at the end of one of those long shifts.
After being unable to get the puck down the ice for a line change after a long shift in the defensive zone, the Broncos were on their heels before Chase Pauls beat Poulter with a slap shot from the slot to tie the game at two.
Swift Current was able to get momentum back on their side shortly after the goal. Davies came into the Hurricanes zone down the left wing, but didn’t have much to work with so he fired a low, hard shot on Thomson.
The Hurricanes goalie made the save, but the rebound bounced out to the right circle where Eric Van Impe jumped on it, firing it into the empty net to restore the Broncos lead 2:31 after the Hurricanes tied the game.
Less than a minute after the goal the Broncos then jumped back ahead by two. After a turnover by Lethbridge in their own zone, Pelletier’s shot from the slot was blocked before he got his own rebound and fired on goal again. His shot went off the shinpad of Carter Stebbings and in, giving the Broncos a 4-2 lead with goals 54 seconds apart. It was Stebbings’s 10th of the season.
Lethbridge didn’t waste much time responding however, as Corson Hopwo came down the left wing and had a half step on the Broncos defenceman while cutting to the net. Hopwo was able to slide the puck past the right pad of Poulter, cutting the Broncos lead to 4-3 with 59 seconds to go in the period.
The Hurricanes then picked up where they left off to start the third period, quickly striking to tie the game at four. On a play that looked very close to offside, Miguel Marques gained the Broncos line before skating down the slot and firing a shot off the crossbar and in. The goal was reviewed for a potential offside, but eventually ruled a good goal.
Two minutes after the goal the Broncos went back to the power play, and then the Hurricanes took another penalty less than a minute later, setting up a lengthy five-on-three chance for the Broncos.
They would take advantage as Ward fed a pass across the slot for Pelletier who wound up for a one timer from the left circle, blasting the shot off the blocker of Thomson and in to restore the Broncos lead again.
The goal came 5:34 into the third period, and the Broncos held that lead all through the remainder of regulation, including killing off a Hurricanes power play with six minutes remaining.
Lethbridge pulled Thomson for the extra attacker with a minute to go, and the Broncos were able to force the puck out to centre, creating a two-on-one rush with the empty net. Ward passed to Pelletier who fired in his second of the game with eight seconds left, sealing the Broncos win.
Swift Current now returns home to welcome the Calgary Hitmen (23-31-6-2) on Friday, trying to tighten their grip on a playoff spot as they now sit alone in seventh in the Eastern Conference.