The top two teams in the Western Hockey League squared off on Friday night to begin Round Two of their best-of-seven series in the 2018 WHL Playoffs.
Both teams came out possessing a strong defensive presence as each team only committed three shots on goal apiece through the first 11 plus minutes of action.
The Warriors got the first goal of the series late in the first period. Jayden Halbgewachs netted the lone goal late in the opening frame with Brandon Schuldhaus and Josh Brook collecting the assists.
Warriors forward Justin Almeida scored on the power play 5:15 into the second period to increase Moose Jaw’s lead to 2-0. That was followed by Tanner Jeannot redirecting an initial shot from Kale Clague up over the shoulder of Broncos goaltender Stuart Skinner to make it a 3-0 game.
Broncos Head Coach Manny Viveiros called a 30 second timeout and the boys in blue responded. Blue liner Sahvan Khaira weaved a low shot through traffic and by Warriors goaltender Brody Wilms to narrow the deficit to 3-1 in the final seconds of the second period.
In the third period, the Broncos found themselves shorthanded but 19-year-old forward Andrew Fyten completed a terrific individual play to score a shorthanded goal. Fyten blocked a shot, gathered the puck, skated end-to-end along the left wing and went upstairs on Wilms.
Warriors’ forward Brayden Burke once again made it a two-goal game at 4-2 as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Schuldhaus took a slap shot from the point in which Skinner made the save but the puck went directly to the tape of Burke along the backdoor and he quickly whacked it in.
Aleksi Heponiemi resumed his play making ability by stripping a loose puck deep in Warriors territory and he fed a smooth pass to a wide open Tyler Steenbergen who wired his seventh of the postseason.
The score remained 4-3 until the final 90 seconds of regulation. Skinner was pulled from the Broncos goal in favour of an extra attacker and Swift Current created a couple decent scoring chances but did not get the ever-needed tying goal.
Jeannot slid in an empty netter from the Warriors end of the ice as the Broncos dropped Game One on the road by a score of 5-3.
Shots on goal were 28-25 in favour of Swift Current. The Broncos power play went 0/2 while the Warriors executed once on three tries.
Game Two of this best-of-seven set is on Saturday, April 7th from Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. Puck drop is slated for 7:00pm MT.