SWIFT CURRENT, SK – The Swift Current Broncos used a pair of first period goals en route to defeat the Everett Silvertips, 3-0 and claim the Western Hockey League championship before 2,890 fans at Credit Union I-Plex on Sunday night. The Broncos won the series, 4-2 and will represent the WHL champion in the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament.
ROUND 4: EVERETT vs SWIFT CURRENT (Swift Current wins, 4-2)
GAME 1: EVERETT 2 – Swift Current 1
GAME 2: Everett 3 – Swift Current 4 (OT)
GAME 3: Everett 2 – Swift Current 3 (OT)
GAME 4: Everett 0 – Swift Current 1
GAME 5: EVERETT 6 – Swift Current 3
GAME 6: Everett 0 – Swift Current 3
The Silvertips, advancing to play hockey into the deepest part of the calendar year in franchise history, will open 2018-19 as defending Western Conference champions.
The Tips were hampered by three penalties in the first period and came up short on a man advantage before Swift Current went up 1-0 on a Giorgio Estephan power play goal at 6:41, and then extended their lead with 0.6 seconds left in the first by Aleksi Heponiemi’s deflection at the net.
The second period saw Everett able to get their game back as they had more puck possession and zone time but Stuart Skinner made huge saves to keep Everett off the scoresheet. Everett maneuvered through established five-on-five time and they were able to kill off a Martin Fasko-Rudas penalty that occurred at 14:30. Sean Richards took a late penalty with 12 seconds left in the second to put the Tips on the penalty kill to start the third. Skinner stopped all 14 Everett shots in the second and Carter Hart stopped all 8 Swift Current shots.
The third period began with Everett successfully killing off the Swift Current power play. Everett got their last chance on the power play at 4:59 and despite some good looks by the special teams, Swift Current killed the penalty.
The Tips pulled Hart for the sixth attacker with 3:29 to go after they took their time-out for a final push, establishing sustained pressure in the offensive zone. They had an effective cycle and along with a few good scoring chances but they were unable to breakthrough before the puck popped out of the zone. With under seven seconds left, Beck Malenstyn hit the empty net and the Swift Current Broncos celebrated after one last face-off by claiming the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
BOX SCORE | AUDIO | PHOTOS
Notes: Silvertips scratches included Jameson Murray, Dawson Butt, Ty Westgard, Kyle Walker, Bronson Sharp and Ronan Seeley … Carter Hart made 22 saves and is eligible next season to play professionally in the Philadelphia Flyers system – as the all-time leader in Tips wins and shutouts, and as the WHL Player of the Year and three-time WHL Goaltender of the Year – Hart closed the postseason with a career record of 25-17-7, four shutouts, and a .921 save percentage … Tips overagers Kevin Davis, Patrick Bajkov, and Matt Fonteyne closed their Tips and WHL careers combining for 61 points and playing in all 22 playoff games … Garrett Pilon finished as the Tips leading scorer in the playoffs with 28 points in 22 games.
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