Broncos defeat Silvertips in WHL final, advance to Memorial Cup

Swift Current Broncos goalie Stuart Skinner. (Robert Murray/WHL)

The Swift Current Broncos triumphed in six games over the Everett Silvertips to claim their first WHL championship since 1993.

The Broncos’ 3-0 win secured them a spot in the Memorial Cup tournament, which begins Friday, May 18 in Regina.

“I’m so proud of our kids – it’s all about the kids,” Manny Viveiros, head coach of the Broncos, said via the WHL. “The way they worked all season long, especially throughout the playoffs here – it’s quite a grind with the amount of games we play – but these kids never gave up, they kept working and working. I’m really proud of them.

“I have to congratulate the Everett Silvertips – a great organization, a class organization. Their coaching staff and general manager… treated us really well. We know we’re fortunate to win this. It could’ve went either way the whole time. I thought it was a great series for the whole league.”

This is the third WHL title for the Broncos organization, which also previously won in 1993 and 1989.

Swift Current captain Glenn Gawdin, a fourth-round pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2015 and current Calgary Flames prospect, was named playoff MVP after scoring 32 points in 24 games.

In the deciding Game 6 Giorgio Estephan scored the game-winner on a first period power play opportunity, while Broncos goalie Stuart Skinner was perfect in turning aside 31 saves for his sixth shutout of the playoffs. The Broncos added a second goal from Aleksi Heponiemi with 0.6 seconds left in the first period.

The second period was scoreless and the game remained 2-0 late into the third when Everett pulled goalie Carter Hart for the extra man. Despite putting on pressure, the Silvertips couldn’t convert and the Broncos’ Beck Malenstyn scored into the empty net with four seconds remaining.

The Broncos will join the host Regina Pats plus OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs and QMJHL champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the Memorial Cup. Swift Current’s first game will be Friday, May 19 against the Titan.

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