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#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Gawdin lifts Broncos over Pats in thrilling conclusion to series

David Zammit/Swift Current Broncos

 

Victoria Royals (4) at Vancouver Giants (3) – (OT)
Series tied 3-3
Game 7: Tuesday, April 3 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena, Victoria, B.C – 7:00 p.m. PT

We will need a seventh and deciding game in Vancouver Island Tuesday night between the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals.

Noah Gregor (San Jose Sharks) teamed up with captain Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames) for a gorgeous goal 7:06 into the first overtime, which rescued the Royals’ playoff hopes to allow them to play another day.

It took six goals and a lot of time to reach that point though. Giants captain Tyler Benson (Edmonton Oilers) opened the scoring as Davis Koch fed Benson with a beautiful pass into the slot, which gave Benson all he needed in order to get the Giants on the board first.

That would be all the scoring until 14:07 into the second period, when Phillips fed Dante Hannoun into the slot where Hannoun was able to deflect it with his skate past David Tendeck to even up the game after 40 minutes.

The game would break open in the third in the Royals’ favour as Phillips got fed the puck in front of the net and took almost no time at all to bury it past Tendeck just 18 seconds into the period. Phillips was at it again 117 seconds later, bursting into the zone with speed and increasing Victoria’s advantage to two goals with a dazzling strike.

The Giants weren’t going quietly though and two of their top offensive talents helped to bring them back even with the Royals.

First, Bowen Byram brought the puck up ice, fed it to Ty Ronning (New York Rangers) and got in the shooting lane. Byram’s momentary crossing of the shooting lane was all the time Ronning needed to beat a screened Griffen Outhouse as he brought the home side within a goal with 13:50 to go in regulation.

The game would be reset eight-and-a-half minutes later as a shot from the side boards by Benson found its way through traffic and past Outhouse.

Monday’s game would belong to the Royals though as Phillips dropped the puck back to Gregor early into overtime as the Royals survived pressure at one end and scored at the other, sending the series to a seventh game.

Outhouse stopped 40 of 43 shots to earn the victory. Tendeck stopped 16 of 20 in the loss.

Both captains finished with a pair of goals each while Phillips added a pair of assists for the four-point game. Gregor had a pair of assists to add to his game-winning goal while Hannoun had a goal and an assist. Koch and Darian Skeoch each had a pair of assists in the Giants’ loss.

Game seven will go Tuesday night in Victoria, B.C.

Regina Pats (2) at Swift Current Broncos (3)
Swift Current wins series 4-3

An epic seven-game series between the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos had to eventually determine a winner, with the Broncos prevailing by a 3-2 score Monday on home ice.

Officially, the game-winning goal came from captain Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) 13:37 into the second period, his fifth of the series, but it was a 420-minute effort from the start of Game One until the dying moments of Game Seven.

Cameron Hebig (Edmonton Oilers) got the Pats on the board first, deflecting in the puck off his skate 6:07 into the first period, a sign they might be victorious as the team scoring first have won five of the six games in the series. It was not meant to be though as Tyler Steenbergen (Arizona Coyotes) tallied his sixth of the season, taking a feed from Gawdin in the slot 5:07 later to tie up the game.

Max Patterson put the Broncos ahead for the first time in the game 7:45 into the second as Giorgio Estephan caught Max Patterson streaking down the wing where he made no mistake on his second of the post-season. Nearly six minutes later, Gawdin went unchecked in front as a defensive lapse by the Pats led to the game-winning goal for the home side.

Robbie Holmes would bring the Pats back within a goal 135 seconds after Gawdin’s strike, but that’s how things would stay for the remainder of the game.

Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers) stopped all 14 shots from the Pats in the third as he picked up the series-clinching victory, finishing with 36 saves overall. Ryan Kubic stopped 18 of 21 shots in the loss.

Pats captain Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) added a pair of assists to finish with 11 points (1G-10A) in the series. Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers) had a pair of helpers to finish with 10 points (10A) in the seven-game series.

The Broncos will now advance to face the winner of the series between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders.

Steenbergen led all players in the series with 12 points (6G-6A).

Portland Winterhawks (2) at Spokane Chiefs (5)
Series tied 3-3
Game 7: Tuesday, April 3 – Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Ore. – 7:00 p.m. PT

The Spokane Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks are heading to a seventh heaven.

Goals 14 seconds apart in the first period from Jake McGrew (San Jose Sharks) and Eli Zummack set the tone for Monday’s victory.

Mason Mannek pulled the Winterhawks back to within a goal 3:42 into the period, but 2018 NHL Draft Prospect Ty Smith dipped and dazzled his way through the Winterhawks for a beautiful goal that restored the two-goal advantage four minutes later.

Ethan McIndoe would add to the goal party with his second of the series 13:50 into the middle frame, banging in the loose puck at the side of the net past Winterhawks starter Cole Kehler (Los Angeles Kings).

Down three heading to the third, the Winterhawks attempted to get back into the game. Henri Jokiharju (Chicago Blackhawks) caught the Chiefs on a defensive miscue, allowing him time and space to streak down the wing before beating Dawson Weatherill on the individual rush for his second of the post-season that made it a two-goal game once again.

Luke Toporowski would add the cherry on top of the cake though, potting his second of the series with 3:21 to go in the contest.

Chiefs captain Tyson Helgesen and Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings) each had a pair of assists in the victory. Weatherill ended up with 31 saves on 33 shots in the victory. Kehler stopped 22 of 27 shots sent his way.

The series will now shift southwest to the Rose City for a seventh and deciding game in the series.

#WHLPlayoffs schedule for Sunday, April 1
Game 7 – Prince Albert Raiders at Moose Jaw Warriors – 7:00 p.m. MT (Series tied 3-3)
Game 7 – Spokane Chiefs at Portland Winterhawks – 7:00 p.m. PT (Series tied 3-3)
Game 7 – Vancouver Giants at Victoria Royals – 7:00 p.m. PT (Series tied 3-3)

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