The Swift Current Broncos (28-28-1-2) went 0-for-6 on the power play while the Calgary Hitmen (25-26-5-3) went 2-for-3 on theirs as the Broncos dropped a 4-3 game at the Scotiabank Saddledome Sunday afternoon.

The Broncos weathered an early storm as the Hitmen racked up five shots on net in the first 2:30 of the game. Reid Dyck came up with some early saves to keep the game scoreless.

That allowed Swift Current to open the scoring. Owen Pickering sent a long shot on net from the left point that was tipped by Josh Filmon, beating Brayden Peters over the blocker for his 41st of the season. The goal came just 2:53 into the game.

Five minutes later the Broncos added to their lead. Mathew Ward had the puck near the goal line and spotted Grayson Burzynski pinching from the blue line, feeding him the puck. Burzynski took the pass and lifted a shot over Peters’s glove, pushing the Broncos lead to 2-0 at 7:45 of the first period.

Swift Current took that 2-0 lead into the intermission, with the Hitmen outshooting them 11-9.

The Broncos killed off a carry-over penalty to start the second period, but Calgary then scored two minutes later. Oliver Tulk worked his way behind the Bronco net before sliding the puck out in front on the same side he came from, allowing Sean Tschigerl to fire it into the open net and cut the Broncos lead in half. The goal came 3:26 into the second period.

Calgary went to the penalty box three times in the middle frame, but the Broncos were unable find the back of the net to restore their two-goal lead. That included a chance were Swift Current appeared to have an open-net tap in, but couldn’t get the puck across the line.

The game remained 2-1 heading into the third period with the Broncos holding a slight shot advantage at 23-20.

Calgary started pouring on the pressure to begin the third period and quickly tied the game. During a delayed penalty to the Broncos, Grayden Siepmann threw the puck to the net and it was tipped by Riley Fiddler-Schultz, over the blocker of Dyck to tie the game at two just 48 seconds into the third.

Swift Current went to the penalty kill less than two minutes later and the Hitmen took their first lead. Fiddler-Schultz fed the puck from the right circle to the back post where Tschigerl tapped in his second of the game 3:39 into the third.

Carter Yakemchuk then took advantage of a failed clear on another power play, wiring a slap shot into the net to give the Hitmen a 4-2 lead at 9:13 of the third period.

The Broncos got one back when Ward picked the corner over the blocker of Peters through a maze of bodies, scoring his 22nd of the year with 5:50 remaining in regulation. It was also Ward’s 50th career goal.

Opportunity arose for the Broncos power play to come through in a big situation less than a minute later when David Adaszynski was called for high sticking, but Swift Current was unable to tie the game on their sixth and final power play.

With Dyck on the bench for the extra attacker the Broncos tried to pour on the pressure, but the Hitmen were able to keep the puck away from their net and run the clock down, securing the 4-3 win.

The loss was the first time this season the Broncos had dropped a game when leading after 40 minutes, now sitting at 21-1-0-0 in those games. Swift Current still holds sole possession of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, though their lead over the Hitmen is now just one point with nine games remaining.

Swift Current is next in action on Wednesday when they face the Saskatoon Blades (42-13-4-1) at the Sasktel Centre on Wednesday.