Isaac Poulter stopped 33 shots for his first career WHL shutout as the Swift Current Broncos beat Regina 2-0.
The win snapped an 18 game losing streak for the Broncos and was a strong bounce-back performance after Swift Current's worst stretch of the season.
"It feels really nice," Poulter said. "A puck came across the street right at the end and I batted it away. (Ethan O'Rouke) rimmed it up and I saw the clock at 3. It was a pretty nice feeling knowing I got the shutout."
While the Broncos went through some significant struggles lately on a long road swing with games against top opponents, Poutler had given up 35 goals in his last five games. The rookie stayed positive and got back to his usual self with the win tonight.
"Just focusing on my game." Poutler said. "There's some stuff I can't control. Just making sure I'm taking it one shot at a time and not getting too far ahead of myself."
That effort didn't go unnoticed from the coaching staff who were happy to see it all come together for Poulter.
"It's awesome for him," said Broncos assistant coach Brandin Cote. "He's a pretty popular kid in the room. He works his butt off every day and he has the right attitude. To see him get back on the winning track late in the season is going to be great for his confidence... it's been tough. This league is very difficult on young goaltenders and young teams. We're real happy for him to battle back and get the shutout tonight."
Coming off losing their last four games to Prince Albert and Saskatoon by wide margins, tonight's win in Regina puts them back on the right track before a season ending home-and-home with Moose Jaw.
"We wanted to have the mentality of kind of a clean slate for the last week," Cote noted. "So it's a good start for sure and hopefully we can carry that into the weekend."
The game started with a pretty slow pace and limited scoring chances. Midway through the first period the Broncos struck first when Ethan Regnier set Joona Kiviniemi off the rush for a quick snap shot behind Max Paddock for his team leading 16th of the season. It was another example of how the rookie Finn can make a difference at any time in the game with his shot.
"Can't have enough," Cote said. "(Scott Dutertre) has really been working on Kivi on getting his release off a little quicker and more power into it. A lot of guys have improved that way. We just have to have that shot mentality and getting guys to the net... Kivi is one guy who has really taken off from the start of the season until now and he's a really big part of our future."
The second period had a lot more pace to it as the teams combined for 32 shots and both goalies were tested.
That momentum slowed in the third period as the Pats pushed to tie the game. Poulter held his ground and Swift Current put the game away with O'Rourke's late power play goal.
Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Dean Brockman was away scouting so Swift Current's win was Cote's first WHL coaching victory.
"It's never about the coaches but it's about the players," Cote said. "Obviously for myself that's what I aspire to be is a head coach in the league at some point. It's a good start. Hopefully Dean is having a good time in Penticton doing some work getting some propsects in the draft because that's going to be important. Scott is a huge part of it. We did it as a team tonight."
The Broncos went 1 for 4 on the power play and killed all three Regina opportunities on the man advantage.
Paddock made 31 saves for the Pats in a losing cause.
Swift Current prospect Dawson Springer played his second career WHL game after his Prince Albert Mintos were eliminated in the Midget AAA playoffs.
The Broncos wrap up their season with a home-and-home against the Warriors that starts on Friday in Swift Current. They will have a nearly $5000 guaranteed 50/50 and several other give aways for the fans as the Broncos look to make a final impression on their crowd.
"We owe it to our fans for sure," Cote said. "They've stuck by us all season long. They deserve to have us send them off on a good note. The guys will be ready. We just want to go in with that attitude we have nothing to lose and we can play our hearts out for the last couple games."
The Broncos will also hand out their year-end team awards during the game on Friday.