#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Lindgren & Papirny lead Broncos to OT victory in Game 1

Keith Hershmiller


Swift Current Broncos (2) at Regina Pats (1) – OT
Broncos lead series 1-0
Game 2:
Friday, April 7 – Brandt Centre, Regina – 7 p.m. MT

It’s safe to say Game 1 between the Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats served as a feeling-out process for both clubs. Even with that in mind, the outing had its share of exciting moments, the biggest of which was an overtime-winning goal from Ryley Lindgren as the Broncos skated to a 2-1 overtime triumph Thursday night in Regina.

With only 4:48 to play in the first overtime period, Sahvan Khaira picked up a loose puck at centre ice, advancing it over the Pats blueline. He shoveled it to Aleksi Heponiemi who delayed before hitting Lindgren right in his wheelhouse and in the blink of an eye, the puck found the back of the net as the Broncos shocked the sellout crowd at the Brandt Centre.

Lindgren’s goal – his sixth of the post-season – was only the third goal of the evening between the two teams and for a long time, it looked as though fans might only get one strike in total.

After Austin Wagner opened the scoring with 2:24 remaining in the first period, the two teams settled in while Tyler Brown and Jordan Papirny stole the spotlight in the opening game of the best-of-seven series between the two East Division rivals.

A scoreless second period nearly rolled into a scoreless third period, despite the fact the Pats hammered puck after puck in on Papirny.

With time winding down in regulation and the overage goaltender at the Swift Current bench for the extra attacker, a faceoff was set deep in Regina territory. Following a Pats timeout, the home team won the faceoff but it was Ryley Lindgren forcing a turnover down below the Regina goal line before feeding Lane Pederson in the slot, who fired one past Tyler Brown to tie the game with 37.8 seconds to go in the period.

By the end of regulation, Papirny had faced 42 shots and turned aside 41 of them.

As overtime got underway, the both teams enjoyed quality opportunities with Pats defenceman Josh Mahura finding iron behind Papirny and Heponiemi running into a wall called Brown on a breakaway chance. Then Lindgren stunned the Regina faithful.

Papirny finished the night with a whopping 53 saves, proving his outstanding value once again. At the other end, Brown made 34 saves.

Lindgren’s night concluded with a goal and an assist, as the overage forward continue to serve as a catalyst for the upstart Broncos. Through eight post-season contests, the 21-year-old product of East St. Paul, Man., now has 10 points (6G-4A) and sits tied for third in WHL playoff scoring.

With the win, the Broncos – who finished third in the East Division – steal home-ice advantage from the top-dog Pats. Regina will look to even the series Friday night with Game 2 set for 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre.

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