It's a rare site to see hats flying on the ice when an opposing player scores a hat trick.
That's what happened in Red Deer as Tyler Steenbergen scored three times to lead the Swift Current Broncos over his hometown Rebels.
“Opportunistic right?” said Broncos associate coach Ryan Smith. “Turnovers comes on the stick he's a 40-goal scorer. The guys made some nice plays for him and he finishes plays off. Hat tricks are special and in your hometown that's nice for him.”
Steenbergen moved into sole possession of the WHL goal scoring lead with 43 goals thanks to another special night with a large contingent of family and friends cheering him on. The Sylvan Lake, Alberta product now has 8 goals in his last 4 games and 39 points in his last 22 games.
The Broncos played a strong road game really containing the Rebels until the home team pushed back some in the third period.
“Pretty solid win,” Smith said. “I thought from the goaltending out. We were good. We did a lot of good things tonight and kept the game pretty simple on the road.”
Former Rebels goaltender Taz Burman stopped 26 shots to earn the win for Swift Current in his first start in the last five games. He was strong all night and made an enormous save in the third period coming across his crease to steal a goal from Lane Zablocki with the score 3-1 Broncos.
“He's been good for us,” Smith said. “He kept his head up. Papirny has come in and played the majority of games, but Taz has been ready and I thought he played well tonight. I thought he was square to the puck, he had rebound control and he made a highlight reel save to keep the game 3-1.”
Glenn Gawdin had Swift Current's other goal and Riley Stotts chipped in with two assists as he was moved to the top line with Lane Pedersosn and Ryan Graham out injured.
“He played quite well,” Smith said. “Offensive guy playing with some guys who know how to make plays and get to holes. He was good. At 16 we expect some mistakes, but I thought it was probably one of his better nights. He engaged more tonight which is something we wanted to see from him.”
Ryley Lindgren extended his point streak to 5 games and he has 7 over that span after a slow start with the Broncos. The game did mark the end of Aleksi Heponiemi's 12 game point streak. He had 24 points over that span.
Swift Current had a strong first period as Steenbergen struck on a Rebels turnover just over a minute in and they had several good chances on Red Deer netminder Lasse Petersen.
Gawdin extended that lead in the second period finishing a couple nice passes to set the play up by Sahvan Khaira and Stotts. The Broncos had their chances on the power play to create a large cushion, but they went 0 for 6 on the night with the man advantage. Red Deer went 1 for 3 on their power play.
The Rebels closed the game on Zablocki's goal midway through the third period. Only 27 seconds later Stotts stole a Michal Spacek pass and fed it to Steenbergen in the Rebels slot for his second of the night.
Steenbergen finished off the hat trick when Lindgren made a good defensive play in his own end and fed it up to his teammate for an empty-netter.
Pederson missed the game after being hurt on a hit by Edmonton's Will Warm on Wednesday. Warm received a to be determined suspension from the WHL.
The Broncos have now won four straight games and will finish their Alberta road swing in Calgary on Saturday night. You can listen to the game live on The Eagle 94.1 FM with Robertson Family Group Broncos Hockey at 7:30pm.