Swift Current, SK – The Lethbridge Hurricanes played Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Championship Series on Saturday and were handed a 4-3 overtime loss to the Swift Current Broncos.
The Hurricanes had a good start to the game but an early penalty against shifted the momentum. With Logan Barlage in the box, Giorgio Estephan scored his second of the series and sixth of the post-season to make it 1-0 Broncos just 3:58 into the game. Estephan struck again 55 seconds later on a two-on-one to make it 2-0 Swift Current just 4:53 into the game. The ‘Canes had a handful of chances on the power play but could not solve Stuart Skinner as they trailed 2-0 after twenty minutes. Shots were even 10-10 in the opening frame.
The ‘Canes answered back in the second period as they would cut the Bronco lead to one as Jordy Bellerive had a puck pinball by Skinner to make it 2-1 just 4:03 into the period; Dylan Cozens and Taylor Ross picked up the helpers. At the tail end of a power play for the Broncos Cozens was sprung on a breakaway but was hauled down by Colby Sissons resulting on a penalty shot. On the ensuing penalty shot, Cozens moved in and snapped home his fifth of the playoffs to make it a 2-2 game. Before the period was out, the ‘Canes took their first lead of the series as Jadon Joseph banged home a rebound for his second of the post-season with 1:17 left; Brad Morrison and Jake Elmer earned the assists. Shots favoured the ‘Canes 11-9 in the middle frame and 21-19 after two periods as they held a 3-2 lead in the game.
In the third period the Hurricanes had an early power play opportunity to try and go up by two but failed to do so. The Broncos received back-to-back power plays midway through the third period and they would make good as Aleksi Heponiemi snapped home his second of the series to tie the game at 3-3 as the game would go to overtime. The ‘Canes outshot the Broncos 12-9 in the third period and 33-28 through sixty minutes of play.
The Hurricanes had an early opportunity to end the game in overtime as Calen Addison moved in and ripped one by Skinner but it hit the post to keep the game going. The Broncos ended the game at the 9:38 mark of overtime as Estephan redirected home his third of the game to lift Swift Current to a 4-3 victory to take a 2-0 series lead.
The ‘Canes outshot the Broncos 6-4 in overtime and 39-32 in the game. Lethbridge went 0/4 on the power play while Swift Current was 2/5 with the extra man.
Three stars of the game were:
1) Broncos – #29 Giorgio Estephan (3 goals)
2) Broncos – #20 Aleksi Heponiemi (1 goal, 1 assist)
3) ‘Canes – #24 Dylan Cozens (1 goal, 1 assist)
Morrison, who assisted on the Joseph goal in the second period, picked up his 30th point of the playoffs as he becomes just the third Hurricanes in franchise history to reach 30 points in a single playoff season joining Wes Walz (37 points) and Mark Greig (32 points) who accomplished the feat in 1990.
The series will now shift to the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge for Game 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets are available for both games online, by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328) or by visiting the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre.