Hitmen Drop Close Decision To Broncos
Facing against a CHL top ten ranked team, the Hitmen made it no cake walk.
The Hitmen dropped a close 3-2 decision to the number three ranked Swift Current Broncos Wednesday night to start off the road swing.
Jakob Stukel and Tristen Nielsen scored for the Hitmen while Nick Schneider was solid all night in his 200th career WHL game, ending with 35 saves.
The Broncos top line would provide the offence, as Tyler Steenbergen, Glenn Gawdin and Aleksi Heponiemi provided the markers for the home side. Stuart Skinner put his past struggles against the Hitmen behind him, finishing with 26 saves for the win.
Wednesday night marked the conclusion of the season series between the clubs, with the Hitmen going 1-2-1 in the four-game set. The losses to the Broncos this season have been tightly contest and the final installment was no different.
The Hitmen would find the only goal of the first period with just 14 seconds left when Stukel broke wide to beat a Broncos defender and finished the play off by fooling Skinner on the deke for his team-leading 35th of the season. For Stukel, the goal extended his point streak to double-digits with 18 points (9G, 9A) in 10 tilts.
Swift Current would answer back in the first minute of the second frame, when Steenbergen would redirect a Heponiemi slap pass to even things up. With chances traded for the reminder of the period, the Broncos would take the lead with three minutes left on the powerplay in a similar looking play as the first marker, with Gawdin finishing the play off.
The Hitmen would again strike with time ticking down, this time seeing Nielsen snapping a wrist shot in the left top corner for his 15th on the powerplay.
Just like in the second frame, the Broncos would find the go-ahead goal three minutes in after a turn over by the Hitmen in the defensive zone led to Heponiemi one-timing it past Schneider.
Penalties would be the story for the rest of the frame, as Swift Current saw numerous powerplays awarded to them but couldn’t capitalize on the chances, finishing 1/6 on the night. Schneider would stand tall keeping the contest close, making numerous key stops including on the penalty kill to set up a photo finish.
Chances were there late in the game, but the Hitmen couldn’t find the equalizer as Swift Current held on for the victory.
The Hitmen will now head to Saskatoon for a date with the Blades Friday night to continue a four-game road trip.