The Swift Current Broncos led the series 3-2 against the Moose Jaw Warriors after a 2-0 win in Moose Jaw on Friday. So this game was predestined to be exciting considering there was so much on the line.
In his interview on Manny In The Morning with Ryan Switzer, Manny Viveiros sang high praises about Stuart Skinner. “Usually a goaltender is your best penalty killer…Stuart Skinner was really good last night, outstanding for us.” But Manny was also realistic about Saturday’s game, explaining, “our real work starts tonight.”
With their backs against the wall, the Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice in the third to tie the game and then had Jayden Halbgewachs net the triple-overtime winner.
It was all Swift Current for most of the first period though as they dominated the Warriors with 12-4 shots on net. Brett Howden was clearly the star for Moose Jaw in the first period, creating chances and generating plays for his team. Glenn Gawdin with five shots on net was the first period hero for the hometown team. By the end of 20 minutes, it was the physical play by the Warriors and the referees choosing to let the players decide things that took the wind out of the Broncos sail in the last few minutes. There was no score after 20 minutes.
Again, the Broncos dominated the middle frame with 16 shots on net over the Warriors’ five. Glenn Gawdin played like he’s already a seasoned professional. Around the middle of the period, the play started evening out. When Swift Current would spend a few minutes in the Moose Jaw zone, the Warriors would then spend close to the same amount of time in the Broncos zone. By the end of the period, it would be a hooking call on Kale Clague that would decide the fate of the second frame. Giorgio Estephan picked up a pass at the side of the net and passed to Artyom Minulin in the blue line. From the blue line, Minulin took a shot and Matteo Gennaro tipped in the power play goal. It was 1-0 for the hometown team.
Swift Current opened the third period with a goal by Tyler Steenbergen. Glenn Gawdin was a bull in the Moose Jaw zone and won a puck battle against three Warriors. He shovelled a pass out front, where Tyler Steenbergen sniped one home and the Broncos led the game 2-0.
But then Moose Jaw made a comeback. Because of a few minor mistakes made by the Broncos, the Warriors capitalized and used those mistakes to their advantage. With an assist to Brett Howden, Jett Woo buried one past Stuart Skinner to put Moose Jaw on the board. With that goal, the visitors gained some momentum. During another Warriors shot on goal, Skinner’s net was tipped forward, but was not taken off its moorings, and the shot from the blue line went through the crease and under the net where it hit the boards behind the goal. After a short review by the refs, it was called a good goal and the score was tied 2-2 with just under nine minutes left in regulation. Swift Current would make a last minute push, but it wouldn’t be enough and this game went into overtime.
Both teams pushed hard in overtime with a lot of back and forth play. But it couldn’t be decided with just one overtime. It couldn’t be decided in double overtime either. It took until triple overtime for a turnover that led to Artyom Minulin heading to the penalty box for hooking. The Warriors Halbgewachs then stepped up to the plate and capitalized, helping Moose Jaw to win the game 3-2 and force game 7 in this series.
Game 7 is Monday in Moose Jaw. The winner will move on to play the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final.
Brody Willms made 58 saves on 60 shots on net and Stuart Skinner made 35 saves on 38 shots. Kale Clague started off having a rough night, but, by the end of the night, he got back to his basics and played great defence. Jett Woo had a physical game. Kaden Elder was also a force on the ice again, blocking shots, forechecking, and taking shots on net as often as possible. Colby Sissons showed just how powerful he really is on defence. Swift Current had the edge through most of the game, but the Warriors regrouped and ended up finding a way to force game 7, which will be held in Moose Jaw on April 16th.