KFC Three Stars: 1) Greg Chase 2) Coda Gordon 3) Radel Fazleev
B & A Petroleum Game Shifter: 2nd Calgary Goal
Low Cost Towing Unsung Hero: Connor Sanvido
Tough Guy of the Game: Brett Lernout
Standard Motors Crunch of the Game: Andrew Johnson
Post-Game Interview with Darren Evjen and Tanner LeSann (Download)
Pre-Game Interview with Hitmen Coach Mike Williamson (Download)
Pre-Game Interview with Broncos F Coda Gordon (Download)
Pre-Game Interview with Broncos Associate Coach Darren Evjen (Download)
Greg Chase and Radel Fazleev each had three point nights to lead the Calgary Hitmen from down 3-1 and 4-2 to beat the Swift Current Broncos 5-4 on Wednesday night.
“It just wasn’t a good game for us overall,” said Broncos forward Tanner LeSann. “We’re not happy about it and hopefully we can come back and come stronger for our games coming up here.”
Swift Current was led by Coda Gordon who scored twice and had an assist in the first period. Connor Sanvido had a two assist night for the Broncos, while Colby Cave and LeSann scored the other Swift Current goals.
The Hitmen jumped out to an early lead as Chase’s centering pass was knocked in by Fazleev only thirteen seconds into the game. It was the Russian’s first career WHL goal.
Swift Current’s top line then took over the period with three goals and several other quality chances. Sanvido set Cave up with a nice pass while Cave was driving the net at 3:56 of the period for the captain’s 5th of the season.
At 8:21 Gordon scored a highlight reel goal off another nice feed by Sanvido. Gordon stickhandled by one Hitmen defender before making a great move to his backhand to score his 5th of the year.
At 15:51 Gordon hit the back of the net again. This time he found the puck after a Dillon Heatherington point shot bounced off the boards behind Calgary’s net and right to Gordon’s stick at the side of the goal.
“We had one line going,” said Broncos Associate Coach Darren Evjen. “Everyone else wasn’t playing to their capabilities.”
“The one saving grace was we scored some goals early on our chances to give us a chance to regroup and play the right way but we never did.”
The Broncos gave Calgary a momentum boost when Hitmen forward Zane Jones scored while being tripped with only 30 seconds to go in the first period. It appeared to be the turning point of the game as the Broncos were never able to restore the same level of attack after that late period goal. They outshot Calgary 13-12 in the first period, but only managed 11 shots the rest of the game.
Swift Current restored their two-goal lead at 9:39 of the second period when Graham Black won a puck battle behind the net and centered the puck to LeSann for a one-timer fresh off the bench. It only took Calgary 28 seconds to strike back as Calder Brooks jammed a puck by Eetu Laurikainen at the side of the Bronco goal.
“We just couldn’t keep our momentum going,” LeSann said. “Calgary’s a good team and we gave them chances to score and they did. Once they got their momentum scoring we just couldn’t find a way to come back and win the game.”
The Hitmen tied the game when Chase’s saucer pass found Fazleev across the front of the Swift Current net for a tap-in. Chase, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, finished the job by scoring a power play goal on a terrific shot only 30 seconds in to the third period. Calgary then shut the door the rest of the way.
“They put pressure on the puck all over the ice,” Evjen said. “They’re a physical team and they play hard. If we could get the pucks behind their D we felt we could get some good opportunities. The Cave line was really good at doing that… but it wasn’t enough.”
The Broncos are in Saskatoon on Friday. They will host Vancouver on Saturday.