REGINA - The Swift Current Broncos scored two short-handed goals on their way to beating the Regina Pats 6-3 in game five of the WHL's Eastern Conference quarterfinals Friday night.
The win gives the Broncos a 3-2 lead in the series before it heads back to Swift Current for game six Saturday night.
Though short-handed for much of the game, the Broncos were all over Regina from the drop of the puck until the final buzzer.
Not only were the Pats unable to get anything going on their first few power-plays, they had a tough time just getting out of their own end.
Swift Current's relentless pressure began paying off at 7:21 of the first when defenseman Eric Doyle jumped on a turnover created by Dale Weise and roofed a hard wrist shot past Regina goalie Linden Rowat. The short-handed effort was Doyle's second goal of the playoffs.
Just over a minute later Regina's power-play appeared to be back on track when Scott Doucet converted nice feeds from Colten Teubert and Jordan Eberle to tie the game 1-1 and record his second goal of the playoffs.
But Regina's power-play unraveled once again at 7:52 of the second when Swift Current captain Zack Smith stripped the puck from defenseman Dallas Jackson, stepped around other defenseman Colten Teubert and deked out Linden Rowat for the Bronco's second short handed-goal of the game.
Five minutes later Swift Current went up 3-1 after a strange play by Regina captain Logan Pyett. Normally rock solid on defense, Pyett attempted a risky pass up the middle from behind his net that hit a Swift Current fore-checker in the leg and trickled behind Rowat before it was jammed in by Swift Current's Justin Dowling, his fourth of the post-season.
Regina got the goal back at 16:07 when Garret Mitchell stepped over the blueline and blasted a slapshot past Yonkman to make it 3-2.
Just minutes into the third the Bronco's grittiness may have cost them a key player when Erik Felde blocked a slapshot off the stick of Regina's Tim Kraus. Felde, who was eventually taken off the ice on a stretcher, appeared to have suffered a serious knee injury.
When play resumed, Kraus managed to get one through to the net and past Yonkman at 4:30 of the period to tie the game 3-3.
Then, as is often the case in a big game, the turning point came on a play featuring a great save at one end followed by a goal at the other.
During a thrilling scramble in front of Yonkman, Regina's Brett Leffler dove and whacked the puck towards a wide open Swift Current net only to have it knocked away on the goal line by Swift Current defenseman Derek Claffey.
The play then went the other way into the Regina end where Keegan Dansereau and Matt Tassone made pretty passes to set up Levi Nelson with the eventual game winner at the 12:36 mark.
Two minutes later Nelson struck again to make it 5-3 before Geordie Wudrick added an empty netter with a minute left to give the Broncos a 6-3 victory.
Yonkman (3-2-0-0) made 20 saves for the win while Rowat (2-3-0-0) turned away 21 in the loss.