Broncos edged in WHL Championship opener


The Swift Current Broncos find themselves in an early hole in the best-of-seven 2018 Rogers WHL Championship Series after a narrow 2-1 loss to the Everett Silvertips on Friday.

Silvertips star Carter Hart made 34 saves to down the Broncos in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,890 at the Innovation Credit Union iplex. The Silvertips improved to 8-0 on the road in the playoffs this season with the win in the first ever playoff match-up between the two teams.

The Silvertips got the first power play of the contest and quickly took advantage when Patrick Bajkov wrapped a goal around the pad of Stuart Skinner in the first period.

The Broncos replied midway through the second period when Aleksi Heponiemi tipped home a Matteo Gennaro pass for his fourth goal of the post-season.

Connor Dewar restored the Everett Lead 1:49 into the third period when he tipped home a high point shot for the game winning goal as the Silvertips took control of the game in the third period.

Stuart Skinner took the loss with 23 saves.

“We expected exactly that tonight,” said Broncos head coach Manny Viveiros. “Everett did a really good of coming in here and making it real difficult on us to get to the net front area… I thought we played well. I thought both teams played real well tonight. I thought both goaltenders were very, very good for both teams. They were everything, come as advertised. A team that battles real hard for loose pucks, especially in their zone, along the walls, especially in front of their net. We’ve got to do a better job tomorrow as far as getting to the net area a lot more and also getting our shots through. I thought we played well I was very happy with our effort. A little unlucky at times, but that’s the way it is this time of year.”

Game two will be Saturday in Swift Current before the series shifts to Everett for games three, four, and five. Games six and seven, if necessary, would be next Sunday and Monday back in Swift Current.