Lindgren and Steenbergen combine for five goals in victory
|The Broncos celebrate Ryley Lindgren’s first of three goals.|
SWIFT CURRENT – The Swift Current Broncos big guns proved to be too much for the Moose Jaw Warriors to handle.
On Wednesday night before a raucous sellout crowd of 2,890 at the Credit Union i-Plex, overage centre Ryley Lindgren picked up a hat trick and winger Tyler Steenbergen potted a pair of goals to deliver the host Broncos to a 5-2 victory over the Warriors in Game 4 of a WHL first round playoff series. The win allowed the Broncos to even the best-of-seven set at 2-2 with Game 5 set for Friday at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.
“They’ve been really good,” said Broncos head coach and director of player personnel Manny Viverios. “They’ve been good for us all year.
|Overage centre Ryley Lindgren was on fire for the Broncos.|
“It is not a surprise for us. They (Lindgren and Steenbergen) stepped up, when we needed them the most.”
The Broncos stormed out of the gates on Wednesday with Lindgren scoring just 59 seconds into the contest on his team’s second shot of the game. The East St. Paul, Man., product added his second goal on his club’s third shot of the game just 64 seconds after his first tally to put the host up 2-0.
The surge didn’t stop there. Steenbergen picked up his first of the contest at the 8:57 mark of the opening stanza to give the Broncos a 3-0 edge to put the sellout crowd into a frenzy.
|Winger Tyler Steenbergen powered the Broncos side with a pair of goals.|
“Today, we really just focused on working hard and wanting it more than them,” said Lindgren. “I think we came out and really crashed the net.
“That is what we wanted to do was throw pucks at his (Sawchenko’s) feet and get there. We had some good bounces today. The scoreboard showed that, and it was definitely nice to get the win at home here.”
The Warriors didn’t go away as their star players also ensured they were heard from. Just 76 seconds into the second period, Warriors captain Brett Howden scored on a power play to cut the Swift Current lead to 3-1.
|Broncos F Arthur Miller and Warriors G Zach Sawchenko lung for a puck.|
The Warriors were unable to beat Broncos overage netminder Jordan Papirny from that point. He made 30 stops to pick up the win in goal.
“They’ve been coming all series, and we’ve been pushing back,” said Lindgren. “I think it is just the way we responded today was unbelievable.
“I’m so proud of the group we have here. Paps (Papirny) in net has been unbelievable for us. I am kind of speechless right now.”
With 63 seconds to play in the third, Steenbergen muscled his way in to score an empty-net power-play goal to put the Broncos up 4-2.
Lindgren added his hat trick goal on
another power-play chance with 14.8 seconds remaining in the third cement the
5-2 final. Defenceman Max Lajoie picked up assists on the final two Broncos goals.
|Broncos defenceman Max Lajoie gets set to drive a shot on goal.|
Sawchenko turned away 20-of-24 shots to take the loss in goal for Moose Jaw.
Steenbergen was impressed with the support of the Swift Current faithful.
“They were unbelievable,” said Steenbergen. “These two game they’ve been behind our backs the whole time.
“We want to play for them. I’m sure they are going to be just as loud coming home waiting for Game 6 (on Saturday).”
Going into Game 5 in Moose Jaw, Steenbergen said his Broncos have to keep up their physical play. The Broncos delivered a number of big bodychecks in Wednesday’s win.
“We just have to keep hitting them,” said Steenbergen. “I think we are wearing them down a little bit.
“If we keep doing that, we should come away with this series. Hopefully, we come back here for Game 6 up 3-2.”
Bus crash memorial a must see
|The Swift Current Broncos bus crash memorial.|
For anyone that visits Swift Current, one of the sites that is a must see is the memorial for the Swift Current Broncos bus crash.
On December 30, 1986, the Broncos had departed to Regina to face the Pats but never made to the Saskatchewan capital that day. Just east of Swift Current, the team’s bus crashed killing four players in Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff.
I know for myself having covered the WHL for 18 seasons, I have met a number of people whose lives were impacted by this crash. A four leaf clover monument was placed on the site of the crash earlier this season, and it is perfect way to remember the four players who passed away that terrible day.
When you are at the memorial itself, it is easy to get emotional.
All those that made the creation of this memorial possible should be given high praise.
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