The Swift Current Broncos went into the holiday break on a high note with a 6-3 win over a tired Kamloops Blazers team playing its sixth game in eight days.
The Blazers put pressure on the Broncos early in the contest when the Broncos were whistled for two minor penalties on one sequence of play. The Blazers made the Broncos pay with powerplay goals 41 seconds apart from Cole Ully and Aspen Sterzer.
“We came out flat again,” admitted Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb. “When you come out and play like that you probably will get in penalty trouble and that’s exactly what we did.”
It was all Broncos over the final 40 minutes though as they outshot Kamloops 32-15 and scored five goals.
Captain Colby Cave tied the game with two goals, his 19th and 20th of the season. Glenn Gawdin netted his fifth of the year for a 3-2 lead after two periods.
The Broncos poured it on in the third period when Tanner LeSann scored for a two-goal cushion and Jay Merkley notched the Broncos’ second powerplay goal of the game.
Josh Connolly quickly replied with a powerplay goal for Kamloops but Dillon Heatherington closed the scoring with a blast from the point with 2:35 left on the clock.
“You have to give the guys credit. Once again we fought back,” said Lamb. It’s not the way we want to win, but we are really happy with the win.”
Eetu Laurikainen made 27 saves to improve to 12-10-0-3. It was a frustrating evening in goal for Taran Kozun as he allowed six goals on 45 shots to drop to 4-15-2-1.
The Broncos will enter the break with a five-point cushion for the East Division lead with a 20-13-1-4 record as they snapped a four-game winless streak.
“Obviously it meant a lot,” said rookie Glenn Gawdin. “Both finishing with a win and we had lost four in a row, so this win was huge and we will build off it for after the break.”
Gawdin finished the game with a Gordie Howe hat trick after dropping Eric Krienke in a first-period fight and then setting up LeSann to complete it.
“It was pretty good, happy to get the first fight out of the way. It was nice,” said Gawdin, who explained that he had never dropped the gloves at any level of hockey.
Kamloops dropped to 9-23-2-2 and finished 3-3-0-0 on their East Division road trip.
The Broncos will now have nine days off for the holidays. They return to action on December 27 when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors (10-21-3-3).