SWIFT CURRENT - The Swift Current Broncos entered Saturday night with a 3-2 series cushion over the Moose Jaw Warriors and had a chance to win their first playoff round since 2008 but it wasn't meant to be as they were topped by a score of 3-2 at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex.
Noah Gregor scored his first goal of the series for the Warriors 5:24 into the first period as he gathered a loose puck and slid it by Broncos netminder Jordan Papirny.
Veteran forward Ryley Lindgren continued his torrid scoring pace moments later as he crashed the Warriors net along with line mates Kole Gable and Lane Pederson, eventually smacking in his fifth goal of the postseason to tie it 1-1.
Gregor then slid in his second goal of the evening on what looked to be goaltender interference on the goal. Papirny stopped the initial shot from Thomas Foster before Gregor nicked Papirny in the crease and potted in the rebound. After video review, the goal stood and Moose Jaw led 2-1 through 20 minutes.
Physical play was very present in the second period with body checks and rough play coming in all forms as these East Division rivals were battling for position and trying to create scoring opportunities. Warriors forward Justin Almeida put his club up 3-1 with a stellar redirection off a Colin Paradis wrist shot from the left point.
In the third period, the Broncos continued to pound shots on goal but Sawchenko was steady. However, Tyler Steenbergen netted his fifth of the playoffs via a tip in front of the Warriors cage. Blue liners Max Lajoie and Artyom Minulin registered the assists on what was a delayed penalty call against Moose Jaw.
The Broncos were awarded a power play with five minutes remaining in regulation after Brett Howden drew a tripping penalty but the third period magic wasn't in the air and the Broncos lost 3-2.
Papirny closed out the evening with an impressive 38 save performance while Sawchenko was solid with 41 stops of his own. Shots on goal were 43-41 in favour of Swift Current. Moose Jaw was 0/3 on the power play while Swift Current finished 0/2.
With the series tied 3-3, a decisive Game 7 is needed and that matchup goes Monday night at Mosaic Place. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm.
(Courtesy Brad Trojan/SCBroncos.com)