Not much went right for the Swift Current Broncos against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. And just when they figured things out and started to dominate the play, referee Matt Kirk stepped in and handicapped any chance for an eighth straight win.
Kirk’s most influential call, among many questionable ones, was a penalty shot call that allowed Tanner Eberle to score the eventual game winning goal in a 5-2 loss that ended the Broncos season-high seven-game winning streak.
The host Broncos were far from their best Saturday, but they dominated long stretches of the third period before their frustration with the officiating cost them two late goals in a game that featured 179 penalty minutes.
“It was a tough game,” said overage forward Ryon Moser, who opened the scoring only 1:26 into regulation. “The reffing was definitely questionable I thought. We had a lot of calls go against us, but we have to battle through that. We will refocus for next week and try and get on another streak.”
Eberle beat Landon Bow on the penalty shot 6:24 into the third period to put the Warriors ahead 3-1 as they held on for the win despite being dominated for most of the final frame.
Reece Scarlett scored for Swift Current to cut the lead to 3-2 but Moose Jaw added goals from Justin Kirsch and Sam Fioretti as things spiraled out of control late in a game that featured 179 penalty minutes between the two East Division rivals.
“We didn’t play too well in the first two periods but we picked it up in the third and played our game and stuck with it,” explained defenseman Brett Lernout. “I think we could have won that game but the reffing was a little off, a couple bad calls. But stuff happens and we will bounce back.”
The Broncos grew increasingly frustrated with the officiating as they allowed two powerplay goals and a penalty shot goal and were only afforded three man-advantages. Moose Jaw capitalized twice on eight-man-advantages and finished the game on a five-on-three powerplay after a multiple fight situation in the final minute involving Swift Current’s Zac Mackay, Dalton Reum, and Dillon Heatherington. This altercation came after Graham Black was assessed an elbowing major and a game misconduct and Reece Scarlett was tagged with a game misconduct as well with 1:09 left in regulation.
Brayden Point and Bryson Gore also scored for Moose Jaw, who improved to 16-25-3-6.
Justin Paulic made 32 saves on 34 shots to improve to 12-13-3-4. Rookie Landon Bow allowed five goals on 24 shots to drop to 5-4-1-0 for the Broncos.
The Broncos dropped to 24-21-3-2 and will be back at home Wednesday to host the Calgary Hitmen (31-13-1-3).