The Swift Current Broncos opened the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions scored twice while shorthanded and then got the overtime goal from Liam Murphy only 2:58 into overtime to defeat the Western Hockey League champions.
The Broncos allowed the opening goal but responded with two goals to take a 2-1 lead after one period. The Titan opened the scoring 8:02 into the contest when Samuel Asselin redirected a puck home. The Broncos responded 4:16 later when Tyler Steenbergen knocked home a rebound on the power play for the Broncos first goal of the tournament. They took their first lead with 1:01 left in the period when Colby Sissons passed up a breakaway opportunity to turn back and set up Giorgio Estephan for a cross-ice one-timer.
Asselin added his second of the game when he broke in while shorthanded and beat Stuart Skinner to the five-hole with 1:53 left in the second period. The Broncos responded 1:04 later when Tanner Nagel won a puck with a heavy hit on the forecheck and then set up Estephan for his second of the game.
It appeared to be a costly period as Steenbergen was taken into the boards heavily early and did not return to the game.
Adam Holwell tied the game again for the Titan early in the third period with their second shorthanded goal of the game. The Broncos were outshot 13-8 during the period as the two teams headed for overtime.
Stuart Skinner took the loss with 35 saves, while Evan Fitzpatrick got the win with 24 saves.
“I had a lot of fun tonight,” said Skinner. “It was a good experience to play the Quebec team. Now we know how they play. They’re a tough team and they had a really good game tonight, got a lot of good chances. We’ve been in this situation many times where we’ve won and we’ve lost, so we know both feelings. I’m honestly pretty grateful that this happened because now we know how hard it is to win and how easy it is to lose. I think it was a really good learning lesson for us and we are going to move past it and be better tomorrow.”
Skinner agreed that he had to be on his toes against a speedy Titan team.
“Yeah every time they were coming down I thought shot first. They made sure that I was doing my job. They came at us strong and I think for us we just need to be better and tighten a few things up defensively and we’ll be able to get the win next time.”
“It was a tough one, but anything can happen in this tournament, so our mindset’s on the next game,” said captain Glenn Gawdin.
“We came into this tournament having some expectations and obviously it didn’t go our way tonight,” said Estephan. “It’s a long tournament and we know the format. We just have to come back ready for the next one.”
The Broncos will return to action on Monday when they face the Ontario Hockey League champion Hamilton Bulldogs (0-1).