There was a time a game winning goal in Swift Current by a player named Zak Smith would be good news for Broncos fans.
Tonight wasn't one of those times as this Smith isn't from Maple Creek and doesn't play for Swift Current.
Smith's goal with 6:58 to go in the third period stood up as the winner in a 3-2 Red Deer Rebels vctory. He tapped in a loose puck after goaltender Isaac Poulter couldn't squeeze the Alexander Alexeyev shot and a Swift Current stick accidentally knocked the rebound into their crease.
"I thought we competed hard," said Broncos Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Dean Brockman. "At this time of the year when you make a mistake it's going to cost you. On the game winner we made a mistake, fumbled around with the puck and it cost us the hockey game."
Poulter was strong making 34 saves in his first start since a deal earlier in the day that sent veteran Joel Hofer to Portland for six draft picks.
"He was good," Brockman noted. "If we didn't feel confident in (Poulter) we wouldn't have made the deal that we made. He's such a quality person. That's the biggest thing that I noticed. He's a quality kid and he's a great goalie."
While Hofer moves on to Portland, the Broncos added overage goaltender Riley Lamb to fill the void. Poulter is taking it all in stride.
"I just watched (Hofer) a lot in practice and games," Poulter said. "How calm he is and how he moves is really NHL almost ready. I think it's going to be good to have Lamb here with me now a really experienced goalie. I'm just going to take it one game at a time."
The Broncos got off to a strong start with some early physical play and a quick lead. Carter Chorney one-timed in a rebound from a Garrett Sambrook shot for his 11th of the season as he picked up goals in back-to-back games.
Red Deer came back and tied the game on a first period power play goal from Dawson Barteaux.
The Rebels took their first lead in the second period as Brandon Hagel caught Swift Current's fourth line out for a long shift and ripped his 23rd of the season off Poulter and in.
The Broncos made a game of it in the third with a strong push to start the period before tying the game. Joona Kivniemi one-timed in a Connor Horning pass right after their power play expired for his 11th of the season in his first came back from three out with the flu.
Red Deer then grabbed the lead back on Smith's goal and Swift Current wasn't able to keep up their level of play from earlier in the period.
"After they got their third goal I was disappointed because instead of playing to win we were afraid to lose again," Brockman said. "That's just kind of a sign of a team that has lost a lot of tight games. Third period I thought we came out and played pretty well until they got the goal."
The win gave Red Deer a sweep of their four games against the Broncos this season. The two games in Swift Current were both decided by a goal.
Kye Buchanan made his WHL debut for the Broncos in the game and had a shot on net in his first shift.
The Broncos went officially 0 for 2 on their power play despite scoring right after the second one, while holding Red Deer to 1 for 4 on their man advantage.
Swift Current was without Ben King who is on the 30 day injured list with an upper body injury. They also scratched Tyler Lees who is still in transit to join the Broncos after being acquired from Victoria earlier this week.
There are only hours left for the team to make any other roster changes before the January 10th trade deadline.
Next action for the Broncos is Saturday at home against Seattle.