Artyom Minulin scored his third career overtime winner as the Swift Current Broncos topped the Prince Albert Raiders 5-4 on Tuesday night.

For Minulin it was the ultimate way to bounce back from a rough game that saw him and Colby Sissons benched in the second period.

“You have to play the right way, “ said Broncos associate coach Ryan Smith. “When you don’t play the right way there’s consequences. The consequences tonight were goals against and opportunities against. There’s no need for that. It doesn’t have to always be fancy. Defence need to learn to play defence. Colby and (Minulin) they were struggling. They had a hard time and weren’t buying in. They bounced back and had a real good third obviously Minulin with the winner. They have to learn like anybody else that they have to play the right way.”

It was a back and forth battle between the two old rivals with Swift Current trailing 3-2 and 4-3 before forcing overtime.

“I liked our start,” Smith said. “I liked our resilience at the end not giving up when they scored in the last ten minutes there. I liked that we put a lot of shots on net.”

Matteo Gennaro had four assists in his first multi-point game with the Broncos.

“I just kept it simple,” Gennaro said. “Tried to get to the net and take away the goalie’s eyes and let our defencemen do the work. Credit to our D they got a lot of shots through tonight. It was just one of those nights when things were clicking and I’m happy to help out whatever way I can.”

Gennaro was playing in only his third game since arriving from Calgary and has impressed the coaching staff so far.

“I thought he was hard on the puck,” Smith said. “He took pucks away, he handled pucks in the tight areas. A couple of assists were just outworking a guy down low. I liked his game tonight and I’ve liked his first three. He’s a bigger body that’s been hard to play against and he’s got good speed. Lots of positive in his game so far.”

Glenn Gawdin and Aleksi Heponiemi each had a goal and an assist for the Broncos in the win. Heponiemi extended his point streak to 20 games and leads the WHL with 69 points.

Heponiemi opened the scoring on a Broncos power play early in the first period for his 19th goal of the season. The Raiders responded immediately when Sean Montgomery one-timed a puck by rookie goaltender Joel Hofer.

Swift Current again took the lead on 16-year-old Connor Horning’s second goal of the season and his second in his last three games. Horning beat Curtis Meger on a screened shot in a game where several younger Broncos had a strong push offensively. Logan Barlage had five shots and Max Patterson had four while filling in for an injured Tyler Steenbergen on the top line.

“They’re given an opportunity,” Smith said. “Patterson played a lot with (Gawdin and Heponiemi) tonight and he had many opportunities. He probably deserved a goal or two. I thought Gable and Elder created on the fly and were getting pucks around the net. We got a goal from Horning. We’ll find our way and we’re going the right direction with some of these guys offensively.”

The Raiders pulled ahead with two quick goals in the second period from Jordy Stallard and Curtis Miske. It took the Broncos until the end of the second to tie it up when Sahvan Khaira ripped a point shot in with only 10.4 seconds left in the period.

Brayden Pachal pulled Prince Albert ahead again midway through the third period. Swift Current responded again three minutes later when Gennaro beat out an icing and set Gawdin up for his 24th. Gawdin now has 10 goals in his last 8 games.

“The first thing that’s going through your mind on the bench is you have to respond,” Gennaro said. “That next shift is important you’ve gotta push back and get some shots and traffic to the net.”

The game went to overtime for the seventh time in Swift Current’s last nine games.

Swift Current didn’t have Steenbergen due to what the Broncos described as a minor injury for precautionary reasons.

The win moved the Broncos to 20-6-2-0 on the season and four points back of Moose Jaw for top spot in the WHL Eastern Confernece.

Swift Current’s next action is three games in three days this weekend in Alberta. They start Friday in Calgary against Gennaro’s old club.
 
“I’m really looking forward to that game,” Gennaro said. “I’m going to have some family and friends there and my billet family will be there. It will be an exciting one.”

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