Pats Win Wild One Over Broncos

There was an avalanche of scoring in Regina earlier tonight, as the host Pats defeated the WHL champion Swift Current Broncos 6-5 in the quest to win Canada’s ultimate major junior prize.

One of the biggest reasons for Regina’s success tonight was their power play. They would go 3-for-3 on the night with the extra man while Swift Current would be successful twice out of five chances.

The first of those power play goals for the Pats came from Nick Henry 7:36 into the game. Artem Minulin was in the box for hooking. It was 4-on-4 as Regina’s Sam Steel was off for high sticking too, but his penalty expired at 6:28, giving the Pats an abbreviated power play. Henry would score, from Steel and Josh Mahura, putting the Pats up 1-0.

They took that lead into the second period, but Swift Current’s Glenn Gawdin took a holding the stick minor at 9:53 of the second and Cameron Hebig made them pay to give Regina the 2-0 lead. Steel and Mahura had the helpers on the goal scored at 10:29.

That was two goals, both on the power play for the Pats.

Swift Current finally got on the board when Gawdin scored 1:17 later from Aleksi Heponiemi and Artem Minulin. The Regina lead was cut in half 2-1.

But the power play was not the only special team that was on for Regina. The Pats’ Jake Leschyshyn took an elowing penalty at 15:38 of the second and Henry would scored shorthanded at 16:09 from Steel to make it 3-1. But that was not the end of that. On the same PP, the Broncos’ Beck Malenstyn scored at 16:32 from Gawdin and Minulin to make it 3-2.

Henry and Steel teamed up again to make it 4-2 Pats at 17:35 of the second. Henry lit the lamp while Steel again had the assist.

The penalties then settled down in the third period, but the scoring did not. Regina’s Bryce Platt scored from Matt Bradley and Hebig at 10:43.

Swift Current then exploded for two more to make it 5-4. First, at 14:22, Heopniemi scored from Giorgio Estephan and Sahvan Khaira. Then, at 17:11, Estephan netted one from Heponiemi and Malestyn.

The Broncos would pull goalie Stuart Skinner briefly to get a 6-on-5 advantage, but ended up taking a too many men on the ice bench minor. They kept Skinner out, allowing Libor Hajek to score the game winner with assists to Steel and Robbie Holmes. That made Regina 3-for-3 on the power play on the evening and put the Pats up 6-4.

But things were not done yet. With 55 seconds left in the game, Mahura took a roughing penalty for the Pats and Gawdin scored on the ensuing power play from Heponiemi and Devils prospect Colby Sissons at 19:10.

Time finally ran out and this wild game was over with the Pats winning 6-5.

Gawdin was named the game’s third star with two goals and one assist. Henry was the second star with a hat trick and Steel was the first star with a whopping five assists. In the end, Henry scored half of the Pats’ goals and Steel assisted on all but one.

Sissons had the assist for a point with four shots on net and an even plus/minus rating.

As far as the beleaguered goalies. Regina’s Max Paddock faced 31 shots and made 26 stops. Swift Current’s Skinner saw 28 total shots and stopped 22 of them.

With that loss, the Swift Current Broncos are eliminated from the 2018 Memorial Cup. The Hamilton Bulldogs will face the Regina Pats on Friday in a game to decide the opponents for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the Memorial Cup final to be played on Sunday. We will have coverage of that Hamilton game for you right here on Friday.

Late Studenic Goal Lifts Bulldogs Over Broncos

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.