Pats force seventh game

REGINA, SASK : March 31, 2018 -- The Regina Pats #77 Matt Bradley puts a shot on Swift Current Broncos netminder #74 Stuart Skinner during a game at the Brandt Centre in Regina. BRANDON HARDER/ Regina Leader-Post

The Swift Current Broncos ran into a desperate opponent Saturday as they lost 7-2 to the host Regina Pats to force a seventh and deciding game in the best-of-seven East Division semi-final series.

Playing for their playoff lives, the Pats scored the first four goals to even the series at 3-3 as the two teams continued to trade wins.

The Pats earned a 2-0 lead in the first period as they out-shot the Broncos 12-8. They scored the opening goal with 5:35 remaining in the first period when Robbie Holmes deflected home a point shot, the play was reviewed but the call on the ice stood. The Pats added to lead 1:06 later when Cameron Hebig scored on a backhanded wraparound for his fourth goal of the season.

The Pats needed only 55 seconds in the second period to make it 3-0 when Hebig tapped home his second goal of the game on a rebound during a four-on-four phase of play. They added a fourth goal midway through the period when Jake Leschyshyn scored on a three-on-two rush.

The Broncos got on the board with 5:50 left when Giorgio Estephan scored on the power play, his first of the post-season. Nick Henry replied 2:10 later for the Pats to restore the four-goal lead.

Sam Steel and Matt Bradley added third-period goals, before Max Patterson replied for the Broncos

Stuart Skinner took the loss with 19 saves on 24 shots over 40 minutes. Joel Hofer made seven saves on nine shots over 18:47. Ryan Kubic earned his third win of the series with 25 saves.

REGINA, SASK : March 31, 2018 — The Swift Current Broncos’ #25 Tanner Nagel stretches out in an attempt to put the puck on net during a game against the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
BRANDON HARDER/ Regina Leader-Post

The seventh and deciding game will be Monday in Swift Current.

Bronco Bits: Swift Current scratches were: G Isaac Poulter, F MacKenzie Wight, F Ben King, F Ethan Regnier, F Quinton Waitzner, and D Christian Riemer. Regina scratches were G Max Paddock, D Libor Hajek, D Jonas Harkins, F Austin Pratt, F Duncan Pierce, F Logan Nijhoff, F Jesse Gabrielle.