The Swift Current Broncos kicked off their 50th season in front of an electric crowd at the Credit Union i-Plex on Friday night vs. the East Division rival Saskatoon Blades.
The game began with both clubs looking shaky in the beginning but then settled down as a battle unfolded. Mason McCarty tallied the first goal of the game for Saskatoon to give them a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. McCarty then recorded his second point of the night as he made a nice pass to set up Jesse Shynkaruk for his first goal of the season.
Penalties played a factor in the second period for Swift Current as they landed three minor penalties but managed to go a perfect three-for-three on the penalty kill to keep the Blades lead limited to 2-0.
Josh Bruce added an insurance marker for the Blades at the 2:11 mark of the third period to give Saskatoon a 3-0 cushion. The Broncos pushed but Blades’ goaltender Logan Flodell was stopping every puck he saw. Late in the period, Logan Christensen scored a power play marker and that was followed by Shynkaruk’s second goal of the night after finishing off a pretty passing play from teammate Braylon Shmyr.
Artyom Minulin put the Broncos on the board with a slap shot that zipped by Flodell to make the score 5-1. The goal came with 32 seconds remaining in the third period to break the shutout bid and that ended up being the final score.
“Just right from the start, we weren’t ready to go,” said Broncos defenceman Sahvan Khaira. “They outworked us in the first period but it’s our first game of the season and it was a good learning experience, that’s for sure.”
Shots on goal were 35-22 in favour of Saskatoon. The Broncos finished 1/4 on the power play while the Blades went 1/7 on the night.
The Broncos will hit the road as they face the Saskatoon Blades in the back end of a home-and-home set on Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm. Catch the game on WHL on Shaw TV as Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe will be honoured in a special pre-game ceremony.