The Hamilton Bulldogs and the Swift Current Broncos met up in the CHL Memorial Cup tonight in a battle of Devils prospects: forward Marian Studenic for the Bulldogs and defenseman Colby Sissons for the Broncos. The Bulldogs came away with the 2-1 win in Regina to even their record in the round robin to 1-1. Swift Current moves to 0-2.
In a word, though, this game was dominated by Broncos goaltender Stuart Skinner. He made 54 saves on 56 Hamilton shots while being named the game’s first star in a losing effort. By comparison, Bulldogs backstopper Kaden Fulcher had to stop just 21 of 22 shots to get the win. He was named the game’s third star.
Mackenzie Entwistle (who was the game’s second star) got the scoring started for Hamilton when Swift Current got into some early penalty trouble. It began at 3:26 when Aleksi Heponiemi was called for high sticking. Twenty-seven seconds later, Artem Minulin was given a delay of game minor to put the Bulldogs up 5-on-3. Swift Current was able to kill off the first penalty, but at 5:49 on the 5-on-4, Entwistle scored from Ryan Moore and Fulcher. That made it 1-0 Hamilton.
Things would remain that way through the first intermission. Then, in the second period, some more penalty problems. At the 7:47 mark, Nicolas Mattinen of Hamilton took a holding call while the Bulldogs’ Ryan Moore and the Broncos’ Max Patterson were given matching roughing minors. That put Swift Current on the power play and they would capitalize.
Devils prospect Sissons unleashed a shot from the point and beat Fulcher to tie the game at one. Minulin and Giorgio Estephan had the assists on that one.
This would all lead up to a thrilling finish. In the middle of the third period, Studenic tipped a shot that beat Skinner, but hit the post and came out. At this point, Skinner was playing out of his mind and stopping everything.
Studenic finally solved him from an odd angle at the 17:59, just over two minutes remaining in the game. Benjamin Gleason and Brandon Saigeon had the assists.
Skinner would go on to stop Robert Thomas on a breakaway with a nifty glove save late in the third period.
Swift Current would pull Skinner with about 1:18 left in the game but could not get anything going. Hamilton held on for the victory.
Sissons finished the game with the goal and three shots on goal. He was also a minus-1 plus/minus. On the other side of the ledger, Studenic had the goal on three shots as well, but he was a plus-1.
Hamilton’s next game comes tomorrow against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Swift Current finishes out the round robin portion of the tournament on Wednesday against the host Regina Pats.