The Swift Current Broncos scored the first six goals as they won their 10th straight home game with a 6-2 victory over the East Division leading Medicine Hat Tigers Friday.
The Broncos scored four goals over 7:19 in the first period to end the game early in their fifth straight win overall as they officially clinched a playoff spot while pulling within one point of the Moose Jaw Warriors for top spot in the Western Hockey League.
Tyler Steenbergen scored for a fourth straight game when he got behind the defense and fired home his 41st. Giorgio Estephan added a one-timer goal to make it 2-0. Beck Malenstyn tipped home a power play goal and then Glenn Gawdin added a another power play goal on a cross-ice one-timer for his 50th goal of the season as Aleksi Heponiemi earned the assist for his 100th point of the season. Heponiemi finished with four assists and now has 101 points on the campaign.
“We’ve talked a lot about our starts in the room,” said Malenstyn after the game. “I think we came out and played our kind of hockey. We were fast. We were on pucks and we were putting lots of pucks towards the net and they were going in for us. We were getting bodies in behind them and getting bodies to the front of the net was key for us. We made some plays and it showed.”
The Broncos added two goals in the second period. Matteo Gennaro outwaited the goaltender for his 36th of the season and Malenstyn tipped home his second of the game 36 seconds later to chase Michael Bullion.
Ryan Jevne got the Tigers on the board early in the third period with a breakaway goal to break Stuart Skinner’s shutout bid. Henry Rybinski scored late for the Tigers to close the scoring.
Stuart Skinner improved to 25-18-2-0 with 37 saves. Bullion lasted only 32:24 after allowing six goals on 15 shots to fall to 12-12-3-0.
The Broncos improved to 42-13-3-1, while Medicine Hat fell to 28-24-7-0.
The two teams will rematch on Saturday back in Medicine Hat.
“I think the biggest thing is going to be matching their push at the start,” said Malenstyn. “Every team doesn’t like to get beat and they are going to respond at home, everyone does. For us it is preparing to come out of the gates strong again, know that they are going to come out flying, and try to match that, weather the storm, and then continue to play our game.”