Aleksi Heponiemi had a goal and two assists as the Swift Current Broncos earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory against a game Calgary Hitmen club tonight.

"It was a difficult night and kind of a strange night," said Broncos Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel Manny Viveiros. "I thought Calgary played really well tonight. They came after us... they put us on our heels. They're a good young hockey team. We had a hard time getting going tonight. As the game went on I thought we got a little bit better and created some opportunities. We're happy with the two points and at the end there too we're pretty happy with how we locked them down there a bit."

Heponiemi scored the game winning goal early in the third period after forcing a turnover and finishing a nice pass from Andrew Fyten for his 28th goal of the season.

"We didn't have the best start tonight our first period wasn't good enough," Heponiemi noted. "I think we stepped up in the second and third. We got what we wanted. We got two points and we're happy for that. We do have to be better, but we got the two points and we're happy."

After a couple of blown leads recently the Broncos were happy they played a second straight solid third period to hold another one-goal edge late.

"We really played the winning game in the third period and closed it out," Heponiemi added.

Glenn Gawdin had a goal and an assist for Swift Current but didn't return for the third period.

"Gawdin will be fine," Viveiros said. "He's suffering from a little bit of a flu bug right now. We expect him to be healthy... we just felt it was better that we rest him for the last twenty minutes... nothing serious."

Tyler Steenbergen had Swift Current's other goal on a great passing play early in the second period for his 45th of the season. He is now a point away from 100 for the first time in his WHL career.

Swift Current didn't give up many chances throughout the game though they had breakdowns late in both the first and second periods. Jakub Stukel scored one with 14 seconds left in the first before Tristen Nielsen added another with only 2.9 seconds left in the second frame.

Otherwise it was a strong night for Stuart Skinner in goal who made 26 saves including a big stop on a late shorthanded 2 on 1 opportunity. Nick Shneider was solid for Calgary making 35 saves in a losing cause.

The Broncos went 1 for 6 on the power play, while Calgary scored once on two opportunities.

Swift Current's win keeps them a point back of Moose Jaw for top spot in the WHL with only five games left on their regular season schedule. They have a big weekend looming with games in Brandon on Friday and Moose Jaw on Saturday.

"We know it's going to be huge," Hepoinemi said. "We need to win pretty much all the games coming up. It's going to be big. I'm really expecting good efforts from us and good games. We're going to be ready for it."|

Tonight's game was the return to Swift Current for Conner Chaulk, Riley Stotts and Dom Schmiemann for the first time since they were traded to Calgary. All three were honoured by the Broncos with a mention on the public address and big screen during a break in the first period.

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