A New Year’s Day tradition took place up north at the SaskTel Centre as the Swift Current Broncos and Saskatoon Blades met for a Tuesday afternoon matinee to begin 2019. The Broncos were dealt a 5-2 loss to the Blades in what was a feisty East Division clash.
Swift Current had an early five-on-three man advantage for 51 seconds and tried to strike the score sheet first however, the Blades penalty kill staved off the Broncos power play attack.
Saskatoon’s Max Gerlach scored the lone goal of the opening frame on a Blades power play at the 13:33 mark with Dawson Davidson and Nolan Kneen registering assists.
Josh Paterson netted the Blades second goal early in the middle period to make it a 2-0 game and the score remained that margin until the dying seconds before the intermission horn.
Tempers were flaring throughout the second period and the gloves were dropped by a pair of Broncos and a pair of Blades as the clubs were looking to provide a spark. Swift Current’s Matt Stanley and Quinton Waitzner got in a spirited tilt against Saskatoon’s Zach Huber and Randon Schmidt, resulting in five minute majors being issued.
After scoring his first career WHL goal on Dec. 30th vs. the Blades, rookie rear guard Billy Sowa netted his second goal in as many games with 14 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 2-1. Forward Ian Briscoe made a nice little drop pass to a pinching Sowa who then ripped a good shot by Blades goaltender Nolan Maier.
At the beginning of the third, the Broncos nearly tied the game up when Eric Houk fired one off the post from about 20 feet out. Momentum looked to be going in favour of Swift Current but then Chase Wouters netted one for Saskatoon to give the Blades a 3-1 advantage.
Then Kirby Dach scored on a partial breakaway attempt while the Broncos had a delayed penalty call.
Alec Zawatsky got Swift Current within two as the 19-year-old accomplished a terrific individual play to knock the puck out of midair and finish off his own play for his team-leading 13th goal of the year.
The Blades put this game out of reach however when McKay made it a 5-2 Saskatoon cushion with 1:02 left in regulation time.
Shots on goal were 46-19 in favour of Saskatoon. The Broncos power play finished 0/3 while the Blades clicked for one power play marker on six opportunities.