Energy was in the atmosphere Friday evening as the Swift Current Broncos hosted the Central Division leading Medicine Hat Tigers on Country Night at the Credit Union i-Plex. Aleksi Heponiemi scored twice and Jordan Papirny backstopped 42 shots to propel the Broncos to a 3-1 victory against the Tigers.
Both clubs came out flying in the first period with scoring chances galore traded but it was the Broncos that drew first blood as Finnish Import Aleksi Heponiemi scored his 22nd of the season to put his club up 1-0 at the 15:18 mark. Ryley Lindgren skated hard into the Tigers zone and made a smooth drop pass to set up Heponiemi for the goal.
The 18-year-old forward wasn`t finished there as Heponiemi netted his 23rd and second of the night on a power play chance less than three minutes later to put the Broncos up 2-0. Teammate Tyler Steenbergen completed a cross-ice pass to Heponiemi who one-timed a knuckler by Tigers goaltender Michael Bullion.
Rookie forward Riley Stotts joined the scoring fun as he snapped home his seventh marker of the season after Artyom Minulin`s point shot deflected off Bullion right to the stick of Stotts. The goal came midway through the middle frame and it was 3-0 Broncos.
Tigers forward Mark Rassell disrupted the Broncos momentum by scoring on a Medicine Hat power play with a little over a minute remaining in the period.
The final 20 minutes saw the Tigers generate scoring chances and pushing to get back in this contest but Papirny was focused as he stopped all 13 shots he faced to help close out the 3-1 Swift Current win.
Shots on goal were 43-34 in favour of Medicine Hat. The Broncos netted one power play goal in three opportunities while the Tigers wrapped up the night going 1/4.
Swift Current now shifts their attention immediately to the Everett Silvertips as they come to town on Saturday, February 18th. Puck drop is 7:00pm CT.