Broncos and Tigers even closer than they appear

Steven Mah
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Broncos vs Tigers

The playoff series between the Swift Current Broncos and the Medicine Hat Tigers is tied at two games apiece after both teams won twice on home ice. But is it possible that the series is closer than even a 2-2 tie would suggest?

Both teams have scored nine goals over four games, with two powerplay goals and one into an empty net for each team.

Each team has 10 players who have recorded points in the series and each team has seven players who have more than one point in the series as well.

The Broncos hold a 146-139 advantage on the shot clock and all four games have been won by the team with the most shots on goal. The Tigers have gotten more pucks on goal early, out-shooting the Broncos 13-9 in the first period. The Broncos have outshot the Tigers in both the second and third periods and hold a 13.3-10 advantage during the third period.

The goaltenders have been one of the main story-lines with the battle between imports Eetu Laurikainen and Marek Langhamer. Neither netminder has disappointed as they have both given their respective teams a chance to win in all four games. Laurikainen, the overager from Finland, has a 1.98 goals against average and a .942 save percentage. Langhamer, the 19-year-old from the Czech Republic, boasts a 1.96 GAA and a .945 save percentage.

The series has been defined by the rise of unlikely heroes. Medicine Hat's Chad Butcher stole the headlines in games one and two with third-period game winning goals. The 17-year-old forward from Kamloops, B.C. had scored only eight goals in 102 playoff games coming into the series.

When the series came back to Swift Current, it was Broncos' rookie Jake DeBrusk who rose to prominence with an even more dramatic performance. The emerging 17-year-old forward was outstanding down the stretch and backed it up with a late game winner in game three and then the overtime winner in game four.

Game five of the series will be played Saturday in Medicine Hat where the Broncos will look to steal away home-ice advantage with the first road win of the series. Game six will be played Sunday at the Credit Union ipex when one team will have the opportunity to close out the series.

Organizations: Medicine Hat Tigers, Swift Current Broncos, WHL

Geographic location: Medicine Hat, Kamloops, Swift Current

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