The Swift Current Broncos clinched their first playoff appearance in three seasons with a 2-1 win over the host Moose Jaw Warriors Friday. The win, combined with a Lethbridge Hurricanes loss to the Red Deer Rebels, means the Broncos will finish no lower than eighth in the Eastern Conference this season.
Broncos captain Adam Lowry scored twice in the first period, once on the powerplay and once at even-strength. Lowry’s eventual game winner at the 15:58 mark was his 43rd of the season and also his 200th point in the Western Hockey League.
Import goaltender Eetu Laurikainen made 25 saves on 26 shots to improve to 27-23-2-4 in his 19th consecutive start for the Broncos. Justin Paulic suffered the loss with 17 saves on 19 shots to drop to 19-23-4-4.
The Broncos moved into sixth spot in the Eastern Conference with a 33-29-3-4, two points ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who lost in Saskatoon Friday. Moose Jaw fell to 23-35-4-6 in the loss. The Broncos clinched the season series, finishing 3-2-1-0 against the Warriors.
The Broncos also moved within three points of the struggling Prince Albert Raiders for fifth place. The Raiders have lost four straight games after suffering a 6-2 loss in Regina with four games remaining in their season.
The Broncos will be on the road Saturday as well when they visit the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Broncos have 13 of a possible 14 points heading into the final game in the season series.
Swift Current Broncos (3) - @ Brandon, @ Regina, vs Regina.
Prince Albert Raiders (4) - vs Medicine Hat, @ Brandon, vs Saskatoon, vs Saskatoon.
Medicine Hat Tigers (4) - @ Prince Albert, @ Calgary, @ Lethbridge, vs Lethbridge.
Kootenay Ice (5) - @ Spokane, vs Lethbridge, @ Lethbridge, vs Calgary, @ Calgary.