There was an unforgettable start to the Saskatchewan Midget AA Hockey League playoff series between the Swift Current Abbey Resources Broncos and the Regina Vics.
Swift Current earned a thrilling 3-2 victory in game one on Saturday night to shift the momentum of the series.
In the last minute of the game Regina forward Brenden Holba picked up a lose puck at his own blueline and raced up the ice on a breakaway and slid a puck over the goal line. The officials on the ice ruled that Broncos goaltender Brad Nyen had knocked the net off its moorings before the puck entered the net, and Holba was awarded an automatic penalty shot. In that second showdown with 33.8 seconds left in regulation, Nyen came up with the save of the night by turning aside the shot.
Swift Current built off that momentum and Quinn Patenaude converted a lose puck for the game winner with just 11.4 seconds left in regulation.
“The net got knocked off by the goalie before the puck went it. It’s an automatic penalty shot. Luckily we stop the penalty shot with 38 seconds left, and go back down the ice and score with 10. It’s pretty bizarre. It’s a weird ending to a hockey game, but we’ll definitely take it,” admitted Broncos head coach Todd Horning.
He said their game one challenges provided an important lesson for the club.
“We’re lucky to escape the way we did tonight. We got banged up a little bit and lost two players early and got down. I told the boys I couldn’t be more proud of them today the way they responded and they pulled through. They just played hard as a team. Coming away with a late win it’s pretty impressive.”
Regina had burst out of the gate by taking a 2-0 first period lead. Regina’s Jackson Smith scored at the midway point of the opening period, and the Vics extended their lead to 2-0 when Carter Derenisky scored on the power play.
Swift Current, who held an 18-8 edge in shots despite falling behind in the opening period, fought back to tie the game at 2-2 in a middle period they dominated by a 19-3 shot margin. Jackson Sitter scored on the power play to get the Broncos on the board, and 1:07 later Quinn Patenaude evened the game.
In game two in Regina on Sunday, the Broncos left little to chance by skating to a 5-2 win.
Swift Current skated to period leads of 3-1 and 5-2 while earning the victory.
Patenaude opened the scoring with a power play marker 6:50 into the game. After Regina tied the score, the Broncos counted a pair of late goals to take control of the game. Matt Christianson scored a power play marker with 3:29 left in the period, and Brock Oberle opened a 3-1 Swift Current lead by scoring with a minute left on the clock.
Christianson rounded out a hat trick performance by scoring on the power play 3:08 into the middle period, and notching his third of the night unassisted with 4:19 left in the period.
Justin Dueck earned the win in goal for the Broncos.
Swift Current can wrap up the best-of-five series during game three at the Fairview Arena on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.