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WHL Playoffs: Swift Current edges Everett in Game 3 overtime thriller

Swift Current's Glenn Gawdin celebrates one of his three goals during the Broncos 3-2 overtime win Tuesday (Robert Murray/WHL)

EVERETT – Swift Current captain Glenn Gawdin put the Broncos on his back Tuesday night.

The Calgary Flames prospect scored all three Broncos goals as his club came back for the second straight game to pick up a 3-2 overtime win over the Everett Silvertips in Game 3 of the WHL Championship Series. The winner came 2:40 into overtime when he got the puck in the slot and fired a wrist shot past Carter Hart.

His jubilant teammates flew off the bench to mob Gawdin as they take a 2-1 series lead on two comeback wins.

“He was OK,” Swift Current head coach Manny Viveiros said with a chuckle about his captain. “He’s been our guy all year throughout the season at different times. That’s what we expect from him.”

It was Gawdin’s goal – his second of the night – with under four minutes to play that tied the game and forced overtime. It came while Swift Current was killing an Everett power play.

Beck Malenstyn lugged the puck into the zone and dropped it to Gawdin who fired at Hart. The initial shot was stopped but Gawdin dove and whacked at the rebound which he snapped over Hart’s shoulder.

“It was just one-on-one and I shot it,” Gawdin said about the play. “Rebound came out and luckily I’m a right-handed guy and it was my strong side.”

During the regular season the Silvertips were an impressive 37-0-2-1 when leading after two periods. They’ve followed that up with an 11-0 run with the lead in the post season.

Swift Current has been able to overcome that trend and come back twice in a row.

“That’s been all season long for us,” Viverios said of his club’s resiliency. “We believe that we’re never out of it…we feel that if we keep it close and within striking distance we can get ourselves back in it.”

Stuart Skinner played another strong game in net for Swift Current and stopped 37 Everett shot attempts. For the second straight game he had to keep the Silvertips from adding on to a first-period lead and for the second straight night he blanked Everett over the final 40 minutes.

“I have a lot of faith in my teammates that if I shut the door the rest of the game, they’re going to pop a couple in,” Skinner said. “My job is to give my team a chance to win and I’m really grateful that it worked both nights.”

Everett gave up the first goal in a game Tuesday night for the first time in 12 contests. Aleksi Heponiemi dropped a pass to Gawdin and he wired a wrist shot past Hart at 14:44 of the first period to put Swift Current up 1-0.

The Silvertips wasted no time in getting the game squared up. Just a minute after the Swift Current goal, Riley Sutter tipped a point shot past Skinner for his eighth of the playoffs.

With a 1:25 left in the first the Silvertips would take a lead on a fluky goal. Matt Fonteyne was behind the net and skated to the goal line where he flung the puck into the traffic in front of Skinner. The puck hit a Broncos defenseman and slipped into the net.

Everett was never able to get the insurance goal and take a two-goal advantage from there.

The Silvertips had chances. Chances that included four power-play opportunities that they weren’t able to convert on.

“It’s not that the guys aren’t wanting to score,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “I’m sure as it goes they grip sticks a little bit more and they need to relax and just play. They go out there and put an honest effort in so I can’t just pin point our power play as a factor. It was a contributing factor but we also had other opportunities.”

Gawdin ended things in overtime quickly with his 12th of the playoffs. He was parked in the slot and got a quick pass from Colby Sissons. He rifled a wrist shot that beat Hart and started the on ice celebration for the Broncos. Hart would end the night stopping 29 shots as the Silvertips have lost back-to-back games for the first time in this post season.

The Silvertips played portions of the game without leading scorer Patrick Bajkov who was dealing with an undisclosed injury. He did return to the game but did not see the ice in overtime. Williams did not offer an update as to Bajkov’s status after the game.

Swift Current will have a chance to take a commanding lead in the series Wednesday night as Game 4 will be back at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. The Broncos know that the series is far from over.

“It feels good,” Gawdin said after. “I’m happy we got the win but we need two more.”