The Swift Current Broncos won’t have a lot of good tales to share after their trip to the United States.
The Broncos ended their swing through the Western Hockey League’s U.S. Division with their fifth loss in a row, as the Spokane Chiefs handed their guests a 4-1 loss in front of 4,563 fans at the Arena before a long drive back to Saskatchewan.
The Chiefs peppered Swift Current goalie Travis Child with 44 shots and at one point midway through the first period held a 12-1 shot advantage.
But the Chiefs weren’t as dominant throughout the rest of the game.
“I thought we started off really good,” head coach Don Nachbaur said. “I thought we just got into a comfortable mode where we could have really gone after (Swift Current). That’s their third game in four nights and we’ve had all week off. We should have been playing the game a lot quicker.”
Holding a 2-0 lead, the Chiefs had a giant opportunity to put the game away after Swift Current’s Brandan Arnold took a clipping penalty after taking out Spokane’s Dalton Hamaliuk. Arnold received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, while Hamaliuk needed help getting off the ice. He would return in the third period.
The Broncos also took a minor penalty, giving the Chiefs 6 minutes and 45 seconds straight of power-play time.
But sloppy play for the entire man-advantage resulted in zero goals for Spokane and one shorthanded goal by the Broncos’ Calvin Spencer.
“I think after (Hamaliuk) got hurt there we should have capitalized,” said Chiefs forward Adam Helewka. “We could have put the game away right there with that five-minute power play but we just kind of let our guard down and thought it was going to be an easy five minutes and they took advantage.”
While the Chiefs didn’t take advantage of nearly seven minutes of power-play time, they did respond well shortly after when Curtis Miske took a feed from Ethan McIndoe to give the Chiefs a 3-1 lead. It was Miske’s fifth goal of the season.
The Chiefs’ Jacob Cardiff opened the scoring midway through the first period after taking advantage of a Swift Current turnover in the neutral zone for his second goal on the season.
Helewka continued his hot streak when he sent a shot from the right circle past Child for his seventh goal in his tenth game after being sent back to Spokane from the San Jose Barracuda, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
With two points on the night, Helewka now has 15 points on the season, providing a much-needed boost to the team.
“He’s a catalyst for us,” Nachbaur said. “He’s an offensive guy and he’s capable of scoring goals and making plays. He gives us that added boost to win games.”
Dominic Zwerger provided the insurance with his ninth goal of the season with 31 seconds to play, giving the Chiefs the 4-1 lead.
The 4-1 score and the 44-29 shot advantage has the look of a dominant game, but Nachbaur didn’t feel his entire team gave the best effort.
“I think we had four or five forwards that played hard and I think that we had six, seven guys that didn’t carry their weight tonight,” he said. “To me, some of our older guys, and I’m not talking about my No. 1 line, guys that are two or three years into the league that have to be better than this tonight.”
The Chiefs have now won seven of their last nine games and are back in action Saturday night when the Moose Jaw Warriors visit the Arena.