The Swift Current Broncos ran into a red-hot Saskatoon Blades team led by import netminder Andrey Makarov and suffered a 4-1 loss at home Friday.
Makarov made 39 saves on 40 shots for his seventh straight victory to improve to 24-16-0-3 this season.
Saskatoon defenseman Darren Dietz scored the Blades’ first two goals, including the game winner, his 15th of the season, 6:40 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie. The Blades added third-period goals from Collin Valcourt and Josh Nicholls, with his 35th of the season, to close the scoring.
Eetu Laurikainen suffered the loss with 33 saves on 37 shots to drop to 19-18-2-2 for the Broncos.
It was the Broncos fourth loss in five games as their grip on a playoff spot lessened with a 25-24-3-2 record.
The Blades continue to climb the East Division standings with a 30-21-0-3 record.
The Broncos were certainly the better team through two periods, especially in the second period when they out-shot the Blades 15-9, but Makarov was equal to nearly every scoring opportunity.
Levi Bews scored the only goal for the Broncos when he finished off a nice passing play from Reece Scarlett and Colby Cave to tie the game 1-1 in the second period.
The Broncos will be right back at it for the second of three home games in as many days when they host the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday. The Broncos are 2-2-0-1 against the East Division leading Raiders this season, including a 3-1 win on Jan. 11 in their most recent meeting.