Jordan Papirny made 28 saves in his first game against his old team as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 4-1.
Tyler Steenbergen scored twice for the second straight game as the Broncos moved to six points ahead of the Wheat Kings for third place in the WHL East Division.
“I thought it was one of our better games,” said Broncos associate coach Ryan Smith. “For sure one of our better starts. Started on the right foot and ended on the right foot. The magnitude of the game was quite high at this time of year. Really happy with the way the boys played.”
Brandan Arnold and Lane Pederson also scored for Swift Current. Ryley Lindgren had two assists in helping lead the Broncos to the win.
“It was one of the biggest games of the year for us,” Lindgren said. “It's a big win for our group in standings and for confidence. I think we were working hard getting pucks in deep and forechecking hard making them turn pucks over.”
For Lindgren it was his best performance since joining the Broncos from Lethbridge before the trade deadline.
“I think Ryley was good tonight,” Smith said. “Created offensive chances, made a real nice pass for Steenbergen's second goal and it was nice to see. He struggled out of the gate here but we've always liked his effort. The offence hasn't come for him the way he has been hoping, but tonight he was one of our best players. That's good because we need him down the stretch.”
After a slow start with the Broncos, Lindgren now has four points in his last three games for a total of six in ten.
“It's been different,” Lindgren said. “A transition is difficult to come in and be successful right away. Obviously it didn't help when we were going through a little slide there. It's good to be comfortable here and to start winning some games.”
The transition was also initially difficult for Papirny who has found his form this week with three solid performances. He has been especially good in the back-to-back wins over Edmonton and Brandon.
“He was awesome tonight,” Lindgren said. “That's a guy who works super hard in the gym and off the ice which people don't see. Starting to pay off for him and good to get that against his old team.”
It was the first time in Papirny's career that he played against a former team. The veteran didn't seem phased.
“It's always a big game when you play against your old team,” Smith said. “There's lot of emotion. It's a little different for a goalie... for Jordan it was nice to get the win. I thought he was solid. Back-to-back games he's played quite well for us. That's a step in the right direction for him for sure.”
The Broncos were happy with improvements they made defensively after their week off. They allowed a total of five goals in three games this week and held their opponents to 1 for 6 on the power play in the last two games.
“Concerns of ours have been addressed,” Smith said. “They're not completely fixed. There's always room for improvement. Our penalty kill has been much improved the last couple comes and tonight in particular. We've made it a little easier on ourselves by doing the right things.”
Steenbergen's goals moved him to second place among WHL goal scorers with 39 on the season. He also sits second among power play goals, first among game winners and first in insurance goals.
Tyler Coulter scored the lone goal for Brandon.
Logan Thompson stopped 23 of 27 Swift Current shots, while former Broncos goaltender Travis Child served as the backup.
Kade Jensen played a regular shift and finished with an even plus/minus in his return to Swift Current as a member of the Wheat Kings.
Swift Current was still without forward Ryan Graham who is out day-to-day with a lower body injury.
The Broncos head to Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary next week.