Bron­cos strug­gle against B.C., Cen­tral Di­vi­sion teams


The Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos faced a dif­fi­cult sched­ule least week against four ta­lented op­po­nents from the B.C. and Cen­tral Di­vi­sions. The Bron­cos took two of the games to over­time but earned only two points in four games to drop out of top spot in the East­ern Con­fer­ence.

The Bron­cos fin­ished the weekend with a 19-13-14 record for a three-point lead in the East Di­vi­sion over the Regina Pats.

Tues­day, the Bron­cos couldn’t match one of Canada’s top teams in a 4-2 loss to the vis­it­ing Kelowna Rock­ets.

The Bron­cos earned a late lead on Zac Mackay’s short­handed goal with 5:06 re­main­ing in the third pe­riod to break a 1-1 tie but Kelowna replied with three goals over the fi­nal 3:18 for their 23rd win in 28 games this sea­son.

Eetu Lau­rikainen was sim­ple out­stand­ing in the Bron­cos goal with 40 saves, in­clud­ing 18 saves in the third pe­riod alone.

Zack Franko tied the game 2-2 only 1:48 af­ter the Bron­cos had taken the lead. Ryan Olsen scored a power play with 1:08 left on the clock for a 3-2 lead and then home­town kid, Colton Hef­fley scored into an empty net.

Tan­ner LeSann had given the Bron­cos a 1-0 lead in the first pe­riod and Tyrell Goul­bourne tied it up for Kelowna in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Jor­don Cooke made 24 saves in the Kelowna goal to im­prove to 17-1-2.

The Bron­cos strug­gling power play unit fin­ished with­out a goal on three man-ad­van­tages, while Kelowna scored the gamewin­ner on the power play as they fin­ished one-forfour. The Rock­ets had en­tered the game with the top penalty kill in the WHL at

Bron­cos de­fense­man Dil­lon Heather­ing­ton (left) worked to con­tain Vic­to­ria’s Ryan Olsen dur­ing last week’s over­time loss. 86.2 per­cent hav­ing al­lowed a league low 16 goals on 116 at­tempts. Thurs­day, the Bron­cos erased a dis­as­trous open­ing 3:35 to nul­lify a 3-0 deficit but set­tled for a sin­gle point in a 4-3 over­time loss to the vis­it­ing Vic­to­ria Roy­als. The Bron­cos spot­ted the Roy­als a 3-0 lead when they hung goal­tender Lan­don Bow out to dry with poor de­fen­sive zone cov­er­age and the Roy­als cap­i­tal­ized for three goals on their first four shots. Ben Walker, Tyler Soy, and Steven Hodges all scored for Vic­to­ria dur­ing the out­burst. Bow was pulled af­ter the third goal and re­placed by Lau­rikainen, who stopped all five shots he faced the rest of the pe­riod.

“I just don’t think that we were pre­pared enough be­fore the game,” said Bron­cos vet­eran Jay Merkley. “I think maybe since they had a cou­ple of their key guys out we might have taken them lightly, I don’t know.”

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