The Swift Current Broncos treated 2,525 fans to the most entertaining game of the season at the Credit Union iplex on Saturday against the Kootenay Ice. Unfortunately, the Broncos comeback attempt came up short in a 6-4 loss in a game that featured the return of former Bronco Cody Eakin and an appearances by four Saskatchewan Roughriders as the Broncos wore special Roughrider jerseys on Rider Night.
The Broncos fought back from a 3-0 first period deficit to tie the game 4-4 with goals only 20 seconds apart from Jordan Peddle and Andy Blanke before Joe Antilla ended the comeback with the game winner at the 14:42 mark of the third period.
Former Bronco James Martin sealed the game with an empty net goal with the Broncos on the powerplay and their goaltender on the bench with 16 seconds left in regulation.
Brad Hoban scored on the powerplay for the Broncos and Taylor Vause added his 16th of the season while shorthanded in the second period.
Kootenay got a goal and two assists from Max Reinhart and singles from Brayden McNabb and Matt Fraser.
They ended the first period with two goals off the stick of Reinhart and another from McNabb in a 1:15 span.
Eakin had an assist and a spirited fight against Kyle Verdino in his first game against the Broncos since being traded for five players and three draft picks at the trade deadline.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was a little different perspective today, but it was fun. It was nice to come back and definitely get a warm welcome.”
“I got a shot after the whistle. I asked him what his problem was and he said ‘he would love to go.’ So I said ‘lets go,’” he said of his scrap with his former teammate.
Mark Friesen made 31 saves on 36 shots to drop to 23-28-0-1 for the Broncos.
Nathan Lieuwen made 23 saves on 27 shots to improve to 26-12-1-1 for the Ice.
The Broncos dropped to 24-34-0-1 as they have now lost 10 of their past 11 games.
Kootenay improved to 37-17-1-2 with their fourth consecutive win of the season.
The Broncos will be back on home ice Sunday when the Edmonton Oil Kings visit the iplex at 7 p.m.