WHL recap: Broncos stay unbeaten ; Thunderbirds win in shootout

Swift Current 6 Lethbridge 2

Swift Current Broncos (7-0) Head Coach Manny Viveiros must be struggling to find the things that his team is doing wrong at this point in the season. While they relied heavily upon the line of Aleksi Heponiemi, Glenn Gawdin and Tyler Steenbergen in the early going this year, they have had some depth scoring chipping in recently as well. Couple that with solid defense and a stellar overage netminder and you have the recipe for an unblemished team.

They kept that going Tuesday night at home against the Lethbridge Hurricanes (3-3). Behind 45 stops on 47 shots by Logan Flodell, another great night from their top line and three assists from defenseman Artyom Minulin, the Broncos took out the Hurricanes 6-2.

Who else would start the scoring in this one, but Tyler Steenbergen. On the man advantage, Gawdin slipped a backhand pass into the slot for Steenbergen and he one-timed a shot past Skinner.

Lethbridge did tie it with a power play of their own in the first. Calen Addison faked a point shot and went to his left where Giorgio Estephan was waiting. He blasted his own one-timer past Flodell to tie the game at one.

Addison would skate in on the man advantage in the second and shoot himself this time, giving his team a short-lived lead.

After two ‘Canes collided on the power play at the Broncos blue line, Conner Chaulk raced the other way and fed Kaden Elder, tying it up again.

That would be key as Riley Stotts would net a power play goal in the third, helping Swift Current retake the lead.

Aleksi Heponiemi then scored what might end up being the goal of the year. He danced around Addison and buried one up top. Max Patterson and Steenbergen added two more goals for the Broncos as they took the game 6-2.

Steenbergen now has 15 goals in seven games this year. He leads the league in points with 21 to teammate Heponiemi’s second best 20.

Swift Current went 2/9 on the power play, while Lethbridge went 2/7.

Lethbridge netminder Stuart Skinner stopped 29 of 34 in his team’s loss.

Seattle 3 Vancouver 2 (SO)

Seattle (4-2-0-1) has a recent history of finding unwanted goalies and getting the most out of them. Liam Hughes seems to be the latest to benefit from whatever magic the T-birds are using. He stopped 33 of 35 Vancouver (2-3-0-1) shots and only gave up one goal in the shoot out, netting his first win with Seattle in his second start.

Sami Moilanen kept his red-hot start to the season going with his eighth marker. He skated on a three-on-two rush and peeled back a bit before wiring one past Vancouver goalie Todd Scott to start the scoring.

Vancouver tied the game up 3:47 in as Brendan Semchuk rushed up the ice and found James Malm in traffic between the faceoff dots. Malm deftly flicked the puck over to the right of Seattle goalie Liam Hughes where Brayden Watts slammed it home.

Another red-hot Thunderbird got his team ahead again in the second. While on the power play, Jarret Tyszka found a wide open Austin stand on the left wing. The d-man blasted one past Scott for his fourth goal this year, all on the power play.

Seattle looked to pull away, but overage sniper Giants sniper Brad Morrison had other things in mind. With just 38 seconds left in the second, he tucked home the rebound of a Ty Ronning shot, tying things up again.

The third and an overtime session would not settle things, meaning we were headed for the circus.

Ty Ronning gave the Giants the lead in the shoot out, but after James Malm and Milos Roman missed putting the T-birds away on his team’s third attempt, Noah Philp kept his team alive and Zack Andrusiak won it.

Vancouver did not convert on their four power play chances, while Seattle scored on one of their five opportunities.

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Brandon Rivers

Longtime Portland Winterhawks' blogger on hodgesheroes.blogspot.com. I also write for SB Nation on the for the Seattle Sin Bin at http://www.sonicsrising.com/seattle-sin-bin. Further, I have a Seattle-sports podcast over at 206sportsjocks.com Originally from the Portland area, now living in Seattle. Proud husband and Father.