REGINA – Time has run out on the undermanned and overworked Swift Current Broncos.
Without scoring winger Tyler Steenbergen for the second straight game and playing for the 101st time this season, the Broncos were eliminated from the Mastercard Memorial Cup on Wednesday.
The final blow in a winless tournament came in a 6-5 loss from the Regina Pats, who were paced by Nick Henry’s hat trick and Sam Steel’s record-setting five assists.
The win allowed the Pats to exact some revenge for the Broncos eliminating them in seven games in the first round of the WHL playoffs and handing them a 45-day pre-tourney layoff.
The Pats now move on to Friday’s semifinal against the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, while the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan get a bye into Sunday’s final.
Wednesday’s game was played in front of a raucous crowd with more than its share of Broncos fans making the 250-kilometre trip east to Saskatchewan’s capital.
It wasn’t hard to tell these provincial rivals have played each other three times in the playoffs over the last four years.
Chants of “Skin-ner, Skin-ner” rained down on Broncos goaltender Stuart Skinner after the national anthem and following every goal he surrendered.
Henry got the Pats on the board first less than eight minutes into the game on a power play.
The Broncos had a great chance to tie the score shortly after. But Andrew Fyten – who got the call to replace Steenbergen on the top line with Glenn Gawdin and Aleksi Heponiemi – was stopped twice on open-net chances by Pats defenceman Brady Pouteau.
The Pats then extended their lead to 2-0 midway through the second period when Cameron Hebig netted a power-play marker.
It was the start of the teams trading goals as part of a fast-paced frame.
Gawdin scored from a sharp angle a little more than a minute later. Then came …read more