With a number of injuries resulting in a lineup that featured just four defenders, it looked like another long afternoon was in store for the Swift Current Broncos on Monday.
Instead, the club was able to snap a 23-game skid that dated back to last January and brought an end to a 10-game slide against the Prince Albert Raiders with a 5-2 triumph at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
“I thought our goaltending wasn’t very good, our defence wasn’t very good, our forwards weren’t very good and our coaching wasn’t very good,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “There you have it in a nutshell.
“I don’t know if we thought it was going to be easy or what, but Swift Current played better than us. Give them credit for the effort, but that shouldn’t happen.”
While the Broncos benefited from a couple of bounces on goals by Devin Aubin and Carter Stebbings to extend their lead to 4-1 in the second period, the Raiders also had chances to close the gap during the middle frame, as Ozzy Wiesblatt missed an open cage during a power play and Tyson Laventure was turned aside on a breakaway by Reid Dyck.
However, a slow start was once again an issue for the Raiders as they trailed 2-1 after the midway point of the opening stanza and played catchup for the rest of the contest.
“We didn’t have our work ethic going tonight and we need to have that every night,” Raiders overage forward Justin Nachbaur said. “It’s not rocket science with what we have to do out there and that (effort) was unacceptable.”
Stebbings’ first two WHL goals helped to lead the way for the Broncos, who improved their record to 1-5 in the East Division hub.
Mathew Ward and former Raider Cole Nagy each dished out a pair of helpers in the victory, which also saw Raphael Pelletier pick up a goal and an assist.
Caleb Wyrostok rounded out the scoring for Swift Current and Dyck made 28 saves for his first career WHL win.
The Raiders, who suffered their third straight setback on Monday, got their goals on a highlight-reel marker by Ozzy Wiesblatt and a long-range shot from the wing by Nachbaur.
“It felt really good to get that goal and to try and do what I can for the team,” Nachbaur said after scoring for the first time this year. “But we obviously didn’t get the outcome we wanted.
Max Paddock turned aside 23 shots in the loss, which dropped his team’s record to 2-2-1-1.
The Raiders will have a couple of days off before returning to action on Thursday at 4 p.m. for a meeting with the Regina Pats.
Prior to Monday’s triumph, the Broncos last picked up a win on Jan. 25, 2020 in a 6-3 road contest with the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Their most recent victory over the Raiders came on Dec. 4, 2018 as they snapped Prince Albert’s franchise record 19-game win streak in a 3-2 shootout affair in Swift Current.
Aubin joined his teammate Stebbings in scoring his first career goal during the second period of play, with the blueliner’s marker proving to be the game-winning tally.
The Raiders three-game losing streak is the longest for the team since they dropped eight contests in a row during a stretch that lasted from Dec. 14, 2019 to Jan. 4, 2020.
Broncos rookie forward Josh Davies did not suit up for Monday’s contest as he served a one-game suspension for a kneeing major penalty and a game misconduct he received following a hit on Moose Jaw Warriors blueliner Cole Jordan in Saturday’s 5-1 loss.
In his place and making his WHL debut was 15-year-old Brady Birnie, who was the 21st overall pick in last year’s Bantam Draft after posting 128 points in 31 games for the Regina Monarchs
Birnie also had five points in seven games earlier this year with the Regina Pat Canadians.
In addition to Davies, Carter Halamandaris, Alex Moar, Daylan Weigel, Cayde Augustine and Sam McGinley did not dress for the Broncos, while the Raiders were without the services of Kaiden Guhle and Kyle Crosbie.
- Saskatoon 6 Brandon 4 (Kyle Crnkovic – Two Goals and One Assist)
Heading into a Tuesday contest with the Winnipeg Ice, the Pats are in sixth place in the East Division hub with a 1-2-2-0 record.
In their previous meeting on March 12, the Raiders opened the season with a 6-3 triumph over the Pats.
Rookie sensation Connor Bedard, who leads the team in scoring with nine points, had found the scoresheet in all five games ahead of Tuesday’s encounter.
Former Raider Jakob Brook is out for the rest of the season after breaking his leg during the opening seconds of the season opener during a race for the puck with Guhle.
Goaltender Spencer Welke, who spent the last two years with the Prince Albert Mintos, has yet to play in the hub.
- Regina vs. Winnipeg – 8 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Brandon – 4 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Everett – 8 p.m.
- Swift Current vs. Saskatoon – 8 p.m.
- Regina vs. Prince Albert – 4 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Winnipeg – 8 p.m.