WHL Roundup: Broncos edge Oil Kings for fourth straight win

Andy Devlin


Swift Current Broncos (4) at Edmonton Oil Kings (3)
Swift Current (34-20-4-6) // Edmonton (20-40-4-1)

Aleksi Heponiemi continued his pursuit of the rookie scoring title, notching the game-winning goal and his 77th point of the season to help the Swift Current Broncos secure a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Sunday afternoon.

Heponiemi’s difference-maker came 4:20 into the third period, giving the Broncos a 4-2 advantage. Graham Millar’s 11th of the campaign followed and got the Oil Kings back within striking distance, but the Broncos held on for their fourth consecutive victory.

Jordan Papirny made 34 saves for his 20th win of the season.

Glenn Gawdin executed a pretty play for his 24th of the season, while Kaden Elder and Conner Chaulk provided the rest of the scoring for the Broncos.

Davis Murray and Trey Fix-Wolansky tallied the other two goals for Edmonton.

The win gives the Broncos 78 points through 64 games this season, and along with that a secure hold on third place in the East Division, 10 points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Swift Current clinched a berth into the 2017 WHL Playoffs over the weekend.

Regina Pats (4) at Brandon Wheat Kings (2)
Regina (45-12-7-1) // Brandon (29-27-7-3)

Speaking of building upon scoring leads, Sam Steel did that Sunday afternoon, registering a goal and an assist as the Regina Pats defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings by a 4-2 margin.

Steel, the leading point-getter in the entire Canadian Hockey League, improved his season total to 119 points (46G-73A), including the game-winning goal, which came 2:24 into the third period. Wyatt Sloboshan added an empty-goal goal late in the proceedings to ice the decision.

Adam Brooks and Connor Hobbs also scored for the Pats, while Stelio Mattheos and Tyler Coulter replied for the Wheat Kings.

Tyler Brown made 36 saves for his 28th win of the season, while Logan Thompson made 50 stops in defeat at the other end of the rink.

The win gives the Pats an eight-point cushion atop the East Division and a five-point advantage atop the Eastern Conference. As for the Wheat Kings, they own the first wild card in the Eastern Conference, eight points of the Calgary Hitmen, owners of the second wild card slot.

Kootenay ICE (2) at Moose Jaw Warriors (11)
Kootenay (14-41-8-2) // Moose Jaw (41-17-7-1)

At this point, the Kootenay ICE just want to go home. Unfortunately, they still have to face the Central Division-leading Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday night.

After suffering a 4-0 defeat at Saskatoon Friday, the ICE went on to get rocked 8-0 by the Prince Albert Raiders Saturday. If that wasn’t bad enough, they then had to face the Moose Jaw Warriors Sunday afternoon – yes, that same Warriors team that entered the contest as winners of eight in a row.

Despite the circumstance, likely no one expected the Warriors to walk away with an 11-2 triumph, but that’s exactly what they did, collecting their ninth straight victory.

Carrying a 3-1 lead into the first intermission, it was what took place in the second period that put the game out of reach for Kootenay as Moose Jaw scored four times, including goals from Luka Burzan, Dmitri Zaitsev, Tanner Jeannot and Noah Gregor.

Thomas Foster then made it 8-1 only 35 seconds into the third period before Barrett Sheen gave the ICE a second goal. But Gregor, Justin Almeida and Brecon Wood replied as the Warriors completely ran roughshod over the visitors from Cranbrook.

Jayden Halbgewachs, Brayden Burke and Branden Klatt provided the first period markers for the Warriors, while Noah Philp logged the first goal for the ICE.

Brody Willms made 33 saves for his 12th win of the season.

Colin Paradis (3A), Almeida (1G-1A), Halbgewachs (1G-2A), Burke (1G-1A), Brett Howden (4A), Gregor (2G), Josh Thrower (3A) and Foster (1G-2A) all hit the scoresheet multiple times.

The win gives the Warriors a healthy 12-point edge on the Swift Current Broncos for second place in the East Division.

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