After a hard-fought, back-and-forth game where neither team could land the knockout blow, it seemed the Calgary Hitmen and Swift Current Broncos were destined for overtime on Wednesday night.
That was until Broncos forward Ryon Moser fought past the Hitmen defence and scored the eventual game-winning goal against goaltender Chris Driedger with only 0.8 seconds left on the scoreboard. The Broncos won 5-4.
The loss ends the Hitmen’s (33-14-1-3) two-game winning streak and evens out their nine-game road trip at 1-1. They remain in third place in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of first place Edmonton Oil Kings.
The game started off fast and fury, with Hitmen defenceman Alex Roach slapping home his 12th of the season only 15 seconds into the game.
Levi Bews responded for the Broncos a few minutes later, and Calgary Flames prospect Coda Gordon took advantage of a 5-on-3 powerplay to make it 2-1 for the home team. Brady Brassart tied it up for the Hitmen, with all four goals coming in the first eight minutes of play.
Both teams calmed down into the second frame when Brassart snuck in his second of the game shortside on Broncos goaltender Eutu Laurikainen following a nice play from Cody Sylvester.
Broncos forward Adam Lowry, son of former Flames captain Dave Lowry, tied it back up a few minutes later, when he fired the puck blocker-side on Driedger during a two-on-two rush into the zone. Lowry ended the night with four points and sits fourth in league scoring.
The home team regained the lead two minutes into the final frame when defender Richard Nedomlel wristed one past Driedger, who may have been screened.
And Roach evened it out at 4-4 once again when he slapped home his second of the night.
Neither team held the lead for more than seven consecutive minutes during the game, and couldn’t connect to find the two-goal cushion.
Hitmen captain Cody Sylvester had a chance late to regain the lead, but he was stuffed on the breakaway in the dying minutes. He ended the night with a pair of helpers.
The game all led to Moser to score the game-winner, his 15th of the season, with less than a second left.
Hitmen goalie Driedger made 22 saves in the loss, one night after he received 5 stitches in the head when he was struck by an errant stick sitting on the bench.
His counterpart Laurikainen turned away 29 shots in the victory.
Calgary couldn’t succeed on two powerplay opportunities, while the Broncos scored on one of their two extra man situations.
The Hitmen now have an off-day while they travel to Saskatoon to take on the Blades in a Friday night matchup. Fans can listen live on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starting at 6 p.m. MT.