Jordan Hollett made 28 saves to shut the Swift Current Broncos out as the Regina Pats won a goaltending duel 2-0.
Jordan Papirny was also terrific for Swift Current stopping 43 shots and holding the Broncos in the game as they were outshot 16-1 in the first ten minutes.
“Disappointed in our start,” said Broncos associate coach Ryan Smith. “Second and third period were better but we were the second best team on the ice tonight.”
The Pats put the Broncos on their heels early and somehow Papirny was able to keep them in the game.
“We weren't ready to play at all,” Smith said. “It's very simple they were all over us. They were faster to pucks and hungrier. I don't know how they didn't score in the first period it should have been 5 or 6-0. We looked scared, we looked timid and you can't play like that.”
Despite outplaying the Broncos in the first period the Pats weren't able to take the lead. Swift Current then bounced back and played much better hockey the rest of the way.
“We got mad at our guys,” Smith said. “We didn't change anything as far as system wise. We just got mad and I think our guys realized if they kept going down that road it was going to be 7-0.”
The Broncos improved their effort and started to push back against the top team in the Canadian Hockey League. Yet they still managed to fall into a 2-0 hole as Nick Henry scored twice in the second period. The first goal deflected in off a Swift Current stick and the other came and Henry snuck behind both Broncos defenders to accept a Sam Steel pass for his 28th goal of the season.
Swift Current had their chances as both Glenn Gawdin and Ryley Lindgren hit posts. Lindgren was also denied on a third period shorthanded breakaway.
“A little bit of puck luck for sure,” Smith said. “When you hit a post you're darn close. I thought Hollett was very good. He was steady, he gobbled up rebounds and he was deserving of a star. We pushed after the first period, we had some glorious chances... we did create, we got some opportunities but it just wasn't going our way tonight.”
After their early troubles the Broncos were only outshot 29-27 by Regina and the final fifty minutes were a close battle.
“There's a lot of lessons obviously,” Papirny said. “We have to be ready off the start no matter who we are playing. I think a positive would be that we came back, we were relentless. We have a lot of character in that room. That forty minutes really speaks to the character in that room that we were able to bounce back.”
Papirny has now gone five straight games without giving up more than two goals. He really impressed his coaching staff by giving his team a chance after a rough first period.
“He's the only one in white who showed up to start the game,” Smith said. “Without him the game gets out of hand. He was real good for us.”
Swift Current held Regina to 1 for 5 on the power play, but went 0 for 3 on their man advantage.
The Broncos remained five points up on Brandon for third place in the WHL East Division and seven points back of Moose Jaw for second.
On top of losing Ryan Graham for the remainder of the season, Swift Current was without forwards Lane Pederson and Connor Chaulk. Pederson is day-to-day with an injury and Chaulk was ruled out due to illness.
A challenging schedule continues this week for the Broncos as they host the WHL Cental Division leading Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday and the US Division leading Everett Silvertips on Saturday.