The Swift Current Broncos clinched a playoff spot on Saturday night after late heroics saw the Broncos skate away with a 2-1 overtime win against the Red Deer Rebels.
The Broncos were granted three power plays in the opening frame and developed a variety of scoring chances with the closest being forward Glenn Gawdin ringing one off the post. Shots on goal were 11-8 in the period and it was scoreless through one.
Jumping forward midway through the second period, there were still no goals to report but instead a lot of key saves by the goaltenders. Broncos goaltender Taz Burman made a clutch save to deny Rebels forward Evan Polei on a breakaway opportunity while Red Deer’s Riley Lamb was consistent.
Dawson Martin tacked in the opening goal for the Rebels after a strange play saw a Colton Bobyk slap shot sail over the net, bounce off the back glass and towards the Broncos crease, leading to the Martin goal.
With the score still 1-0 in the third period, Taz Burman was doing his job in keeping the Broncos within striking distance, making several big time saves using the pads and the glove.
The Broncos kept applying pressure late with 35 shots on the Rebels net with five minutes remaining in regulation. Gawdin found a pinching Sahvan Khaira in the slot but his shot was blocked by a sprawling Carson Sass to keep Swift Current off the score sheet.
Aleksi Heponiemi would finally break the goose egg as he wired the tying goal glove side by Lamb at the 17:18 mark.
For the third occasion this season, the Broncos went into overtime against the Rebels and also for the third time, they skated away with the victory. Tyler Steenbergen netted his 46th of the season just 52 seconds into the extra frame after taking a cross-ice feed from Heponiemi and lifting his shot by Lamb. The Rebels never touched the puck in overtime and the Broncos swept the season series 4-0.
With the victory, the Broncos punched their ticket to the 2017 WHL Playoffs that are set to begin on March 24th.
Shots on goal were 41-25 in favour of Swift Current. The Broncos went 0/3 on the power play while the Rebels finished 1/2.
The Broncos continue their three-game road trip tomorrow evening against the Edmonton Oil Kings at Rogers Place. Puck drop is at 5:00pm CT.