Darwin Knelsen

Giorgio Estephan nets hat trick in Swift Current Broncos overtime win against Lethbridge Hurricanes

Coming off of a Game 1 win, the Swift Current Broncos hosted the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Game 2 at the iPlex. In the last game, Aleksi Heponiemi got the monkey off his back by scoring his first WHL playoff goal to give Swift Current the 3-2 edge and the win. Heponiemi, Giorgio Estephan, and Max Patterson scored for the Broncos. Matthew Stanley and Calen Addison notched the two goals for the Hurricanes. Stuart Skinner was solid in net for Swift Current. And Logan Flodell gave a great performance in net for the Hurricanes.

In this game, Artyom Minulin sat out with an apparent injury while Connor Horning slotted into the defensive pairings. Stuart Skinner started in net for the Broncos while Logan Flodell defended the Hurricanes crease.

Calen Addison (Lethbridge Hurricanes)

The first period was all Swift Current as they came out of the gate with energy and ambition to win. A penalty to Logan Barlage would give the Broncos a 1-0 lead when Aleksi Heponiemi passed to Glenn Gawdin out front of Flodell, then Gawdin passed to Giorgio Estephan at the side of the net who buried it. A few minutes later, Estephan and Max Patterson had a 2-on-1. Estephan passed over to Patterson, who passed back to Estephan. A patient Estephan notched his second of the night and gave the home team a 2-0 advantage.

Later in the period, Glenn Gawdin and Ty Prefontaine got tangled up and Gawdin was slow to get back to the bench. He would not take another shift during the opening period. Swift Current owned the first 20 minutes of the game with most of the pressure in spite of their penalties. Lethbridge was off to a slow start after owning possession in the first 20 minutes a night earlier. The home team was up 2-0 heading into the middle frame.

The Broncos started the second period on the tail end of a Andrew Fyten penalty, but swiftly killed it off. The Hurricanes started generating some offense, which paid off when a shot by Jordy Bellerive went off Tanner Nagel’s skate and past Skinner. Lethbridge was on the board, but Swift Current was still ahead 2-1.

Just as the home team was taking back some control with a power play due to an interference call on Taylor Ross, the Hurricanes had a short-handed chance and capitalized. Dylan Cozens had a breakaway, Colby Sissons tripped him in front of the net, and a penalty shot was called. Cozens would even the score 2-2 on that penalty shot. Lethbridge struck again when Brad Morrison took a shot on net and Jadon Joseph flew in to pick up the rebound and put the visiting team up 3-2 after 40 minutes.

photo courtesy Darwin Knelsen

The third period had a little less urgency than the previous 40 minutes. However, during a Broncos power play, Aleksi Heponiemi added a second goal to his playoff tally and tied the game 3-3. His patience and perseverance in front of Logan Flodell paid off and the teams headed to overtime. Both teams played hard throughout the overtime period. Calen Addison hit the post in the Broncos zone and then a 2-on-1 in the Hurricanes zone gave the home crowd some hope. It was not to be at that point and the teams continued their hard-hitting game.

Lethbridge had the edge in plays most of the period, but it was a shot by Sahvan Khaira from the blue line that was redirected by  Estephan that gave the home team a win and Estephan the hat trick.

The hat-trick overtime winner is not new to the Broncos in this playoff run as Matteo Gennaro notched the OT winner in Game 4 against Moose Jaw and that gave him a hat trick in that one as well.

Swift Current now leads the series 2-0 and they will head to Lethbridge for games 3 and 4 on Tuesday, April 24th and Wednesday, April 25th.