The Swift Current Broncos shut down the Calgary Hitmen’s playoff hopes with a 7-6 win at the InnovationPlex on Friday night.

While the Broncos already clinched the second seed in the first round of the playoffs, and the Central Division, a few players weren’t in the lineup for the Broncos. Assistant Coach Regan Darby said his team wanted to play hard against a team fighting for their lives.

“Guys will push a little bit in games like this at the same time, you know you’re going to the playoffs, you want to get good habits,” Darby said. “We tried to do that, got in a little bit of penalty trouble and then at the end, obviously they started to fill in the net there a little bit. So, you don’t want to see that happen, but at the same time, these games are hard games to play.”

The Broncos were up 2-1 after one, on goals from Rylan Gould and Ty Coupland. Ethan Moore had opened the scoring for Calgary. The Hitmen tied the game 2-2 late in the second period, courtesy of Brandon Gorzynski to keep things tight heading into the third period, where things got wild.

The Broncos led 5-2 at one point on goals from Jakub Dvorak, Conor Geekie, and Gould’s second of the night. However, the Hitmen wouldn’t go away as Reese Hamilton, Carter Yakemchuk, and Carson Wetsch scored for Calgary in the final three minutes to fight back, but Clarke Caswell and Connor Gabriel each gave the Broncos some insurance down the stretch.

Darby said they will take a look at a few things in the final few minutes to clean up moving forward.

“They’re fighting for their lives,” he said. “We tried to shut things down and lock it up as much as we could and they got some. We weren’t in the shooting lanes, they got pucks through.”

Broncos Defenceman Daxon Yerex made his WHL debut, earning an assist in the contest.

Joey Rocha stopped 41 shots he faced in the victory. The Broncos only had one powerplay in the game and were unsuccessful on it. The penalty kill was 2-for-4.

After the conclusion of games on Friday night, the Broncos also now know their first-round opponent as they’ll take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes starting on March 29 in Swift Current.

The Broncos still have one more regular season affair as they visit the Hitmen tomorrow.