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Gawdin tallies twice as Broncos upend Pats on Saturday Showcase

Robert Murray

 

After coming off a grueling road trip that ended with three losses, the Swift Current Broncos found their way back into the win column as they returned home, topping the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup host Regina Pats by a 3-1 score in the latest edition of Sportsnet’s Saturday Showcase.

Broncos’ captain Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) scored twice and goaltender Stuart Skinner stopped 22 of 23 shots as the Broncos picked up their 34th victory of the season and fifth straight on home ice, also improving to 9-1 on home ice in their last 10 games.

Despite Saturday’s victory, it was the Pats starting strong out of the gates as early penalty trouble for the Broncos gifted the visiting side a five-on-three power play. Though the Broncos fought valiantly to kill off the time, the Pats would eventually find the back of the net with defenceman Libor Hajek (Tampa Bay Lightning) opening the scoring 7:35 into the contest.

Pats goaltender Ryan Kubic was also on top of his game, snuffing out all 11 shots from the Broncos in the first 20 minutes. The Broncos would eventually find a way to put the puck past Kubic in the second period. A point shot from defenceman Colby Sissons (New Jersey Devils), was tipped by Gawdin and underneath Kubic 8:48 into the second.

Midway through the third, with the Broncos continuing to press on their fifth power play of the contest, Gawdin struck again. Streaking down the wing, Gawdin feigned a cross-ice pace, but found enough open time and space to bury the puck short-side on Kubic for the game-winning goal.

Though they’d try to push back, the Pats were suffocated by the Broncos’ defence in the final 40 minutes of a potential first-round playoff matchup in March, managing just seven shots that were all turned aside by Skinner.

Artyom Minulin would put the game out of reach in the final minute, scoring on a long-range empty-net goal to put the finishing touches on the victory, pulling the Broncos back within nine points of the league-leading Moose Jaw Warriors for the division and conference lead.

While he took the loss, Kubic delivered a stunning performance in net for the Pats, making 42 saves on 44 shots. If the Broncos face him again Sunday in the tail-end of a home-and-home at the Brandt Centre, goals will once again come at a premium.

Cameron Hebig (Edmonton Oilers) extended his point streak to five games with an assist. Matt Bradley earned the other Pats assist Saturday, giving him points in six of his last eight games.

Minulin added an assist for the multi-point effort. The Broncos’ scoring leader Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers) assisted on the winning goal to give him an even 90 points on the season, five behind Brayden Burke of the aforementioned Warriors for the league scoring lead.

Tyler Steenbergen (Arizona Coyotes) also assisted on the game-winner to give him 72 points (36G-36A) through 35 games.

The two teams better learn to like each other’s company because they’ll meet again immediately Sunday, January 28 (4:00 p.m. CST) at the Brandt Centre.

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