Elimination games were practically old hat for the Estevan Midget AA Bruins by the time they faced the Swift Current Broncos on Friday, March 8 at Affinity Place. After having won three straight games in the last round against Notre Dame, the Bruins at last ran up against an opponent they couldn't outwill and stave off elimination against.
Swift Current scored three times in the second period in rapid succession, and twice in the third, once with the goalie pulled, to take a 6-1 victory and sweep the series against the Bruins 3-0. The Broncos have now won 42 games without a single loss this year. As for the Bruins, they wrap up an exciting season earlier than they'd hoped.
"They're a good team from top to bottom," said Bruins head coach Riley Hengen of his still-unbeaten opponents. "They play a very structured game, which we had trouble with in games two and three. Even the three games in the regular season we couldn't get a lot of offense against those guys."
The Bruins were down 1-0 by the end of the first period thanks to a goal by Quinn Patenaude, but they outshot the Broncos nine to six and could easily have taken the lead. In the span of just under three minutes, they struck two posts and a crossbar.
"It felt like a close game up until about halfway through the second there where they got a couple of quick ones," said Hengen. "You could kind of feel the bench get down a little bit. Right up until that halfway point of the second we were right in there and if we get a couple that go in, maybe they don't go on that hot couple minutes there."
The second period provided all the offense the Broncos needed, however, as they netted three goals off the rush in a span of under three minutes. All three goals came at even strength as a result of odd-man rushes.
"They're dangerous," Hengen said. "Any mistakes we make in the neutral zone it seemed it was always coming back our way on an odd-man rush. Like I said, they're deep and they've got a lot of weapons so if you're giving those guys those odd man rushes and your guys aren't coming back to pick up that trailer, bad things happen. Bad things happened tonight."
With the loss, the Bruins conclude their season. The Broncos, still undefeated in 2018-19, will move on to the South Division finals.