Rookie DeBrusk scores game-winner for Broncos over visiting Medicine Hat Tigers
The Swift Current Broncos worked their way back into their opening round best-of-seven Western Hockey League playoff series with a 3-1 win over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday.
The Broncos had lost games one and two in Medicine Hat over the weekend and now trail the series two games to one.
Rookie Jake DeBrusk scored the game-winning goal in the third period and Eetu Laurikainen made 30 saves to earn the Broncos first win of the playoffs.
"I am feeling great right now," said DeBrusk after the game. "It felt good to have that one go in, especially at a crucial time in the game. I am more happy we got the win and we are back in the series."
The Broncos took their first lead of the series with a powerplay goal from Nathan Burns 11:32 into the first period when he tipped home a Brycen Martin point shot.
Medicine Hat tied the game with 3:39 left in the opening period when Cole Sanford tapped home a saucer pass from Trevor Cox on a two-on-one.
The two teams played a scoreless second period when Marek Langhamer made 20 saves in the Tigers' goal. The Broncos had a 58-second five-on-three man-advantage but failed to generate a quality scoring chance.
DeBrusk scored the go-ahead goal with 6:09 left when he kept the puck on a long two-on-one and fired top corner to beat Langhamer to the glove side for his second goal of the playoffs.
The Broncos had made a concerted effort to take more shots after trying to make the extra pass too often in Medicine Hat.
"Yeah coach put that out on the board, things to change just to try, just to see. We focused just on putting more pucks on him, because I thought we didn't challenge him enough in games one and two. That goal was an example of it. They had an odd-man rush and he kind of screwed up. It went down and I usually probably would have passed that nine times out of 10 times or at least tried. With the new mindset I just closed my eyes and shot as hard as I could."
Julius Honka added an insurance goal with 1:09 left on the clock into an empty net to close the scoring.
Marek Langhamer took the loss with a 36-save performance. It was another battle between the two import goaltenders.
"That was just classic Eetu," said DeBrusk of his goaltender. "He is such superstar in this league. You can really depend on him to make the big saves. He made some clutch saves at times, just ridiculous saves. He is really nice to have back there to save us. He played great tonight and I am happy he did."
In front of a near sold out crowd of 2,840 fans at the Credit Union iplex, the Broncos earned their first lead in the series when Burns scored on the powerplay.
"We are pretty good at coming back," said DeBrusk. "We have come back all regular season, but it doesn't hurt to play with the lead that's for sure. It was nice to get that first one and it was a huge relief on the bench. The crowd was amazing and we knew something was different for sure from games one and two."
Game four will be played Wednesday in Swift Current where the Broncos will look to tie the series heading back to Medicine Hat for game five on Saturday.