Jake Elmer had a hat trick as the Lethbridge Hurricanes controlled the pace of play from almost start to finish in a 7-2 win over the young Swift Current Broncos.
It was a tough start for the home team and they never seemed to find their footing in relatively sloppy performance.
"We were really tentative," said Broncos assistant coach Scott Dutertre. "For us we want them to play a little more dangerous. We have nothing to lose we need to go for it."
Despite the score there were still some impressive saves from veteran netminder Riley Lamb among the 49 saves he made for Swift Current.
"I thought Riley competed pretty hard," Dutertre said. "The second goal was a tough one for him for sure... but the other ones even the couple that slid under him we discussed taking away the sticks in the slot area because they are opportunistic. Around the slot area they're like vultures and they're just waiting. We don't tie up those sticks and it costs us."
Carter Chorney broke a 12 game scoring slump with his 12th of the season in the first period, while Connor Horning struck for his 6th of the season in the second period on an impressive move.
Swift Current went 0 for 8 on the power play and gave up a shorthanded goal. Their man advantage really struggled and was a significant factor in tonight's loss when the game was still within reach.
The Broncos are eliminated from playoff contention and have struggled to now seven straight losses, but their coaching staff is trying to focus on the chance their young players are getting to develop their game with significant ice time against some of the best players in their age group in the middle of a playoff race.
"I think there's a couple different messages involved," Dutertre said. "You have to look at it as an opportunity. We have to make learning outcomes out of these. Even though we're frustrated we have to be dangerous. We have absolutely nothing to lose. We have some kids that down the road could potentially be in central scouting. If you're playing passive you're not going to get noticed. We have our 20-year-olds who have an opportunity... everybody has a purpose behind what they're doing... that's been the message all year that if you're going to screw up, screw up big. The players I've worked with for the next twenty years, the guys who make it to the next level they're never sitting on the fence. You can't be safe when you play."
Swift Current has 13 games left on their schedule and are in Brandon on Monday afternoon. They're back home next weekend to host Moose Jaw on Friday and Calgary on Saturday in two of their final four home games in 2018-19.