The time had finally arrived on September 21st, 2018 as the Swift Current Broncos and Saskatoon Blades squared off to begin the 2018-19 WHL regular season. For the Broncos, it was their Home Opener and Banner Raising night as presented by Pioneer Coop.
Before the game, the Broncos players and Hockey operations staff were introduced before a pre-game video was played highlighting the 2017-18 WHL Champion Swift Current Broncos. That was followed by the unveiling of not one but two banners as the WHL Eastern Conference Champions and WHL League Champions banners were raised up to the rafters.
On to the game, Broncos goaltender Joel Hofer proved his skill set as he denied all 12 shots that went his way in the first period to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
The stalemate was uplifted midway through the second when 20-year-old forward Kaden Elder scored the first goal of the new season. Elder reacted quickly to a bouncing puck in the low slot and snapped it by Blades netminder Nolan Maier to put the sellout crowd of 2,890 in attendance on their feet in celebration.
The moment was unfortunately short lived as Max Gerlach executed on a breakaway opportunity 21 seconds later to knot the game 1-1.
Gerlach pocketed his second of the night when his teammate Emil Malysjev completed a cross ice pass and found Gerlach back door next to the Bronco crease.
Bronco defenceman Ryan Pouliot picked up a holding penalty with 4:48 left in the third period but his team successfully killed off the penalty, giving Swift Current a chance in the final few minutes.
Hofer was pulled for the extra attacker but Swift Current could not generate a quality scoring chance, thus 2-1 was the final score.
Shots on goal were 36-16 in favour of Saskatoon. The Broncos power play went 0/2 but their penalty kill play was terrific, shutting out the Blades on four power play tries.
The Broncos will have to prepare quickly as they head north for the tail end of their back-to-back set with Saskatoon on Saturday at the SaskTel Centre. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm.