On one side of the ice, a mob of teenagers celebrating, on the other heads hung in disappointment.
After a bruising seven-game series both are to be expected. There can only be one winner, after all.
The Pats and the Broncos put everything on the line for game seven at the Credit Union i-plex in Swift Current Monday night in what was probably the most exciting game of the series.
But when the horn sounded at the end of the game, it was the Swift Current Broncos who were moving on after a 3-2 victory. The Pats, on the other hand, loaded their bus to Regina to await the Memorial Cup.
“It’s a pretty terrible feeling, honestly,” said an emotional Josh Mahura after the game. “(We) came up pretty short on our goal this year. It’s going to be tough for a week here to get over it.”
The Pats’ goal all season was to punch their ticket to the Memorial Cup the right way. As hosts of the CHL championship, they are guaranteed a spot in the tournament but they wanted to get in by winning the WHL Championship.
Head coach John Paddock said he hadn’t even talked to his players yet because there wasn’t much he could say.
“Normally I’d go in there, the coaches would go in there, but we’re going to play again (in the Memorial Cup). They’ve got lots of disappointment (so) what can you say?”
“We know the Memorial Cup is coming and we’ll have a planned way to prepare for it,” Paddock continued. “In a week’s time, just like when you lose out at the end of the season early, you get over it.”
But that is little consolation for the Pats players right now.
“Down the stretch here we’ll probably have a different mindset to it and stuff but right now we’re not really looking at that. we’re just trying to process it,” Mahura explained before adding, like any good team leader, how impressed he was with how his teammates played.
“I’m pretty proud of the group of guys we have in there. We wanted to win this more than anything. We have a really disappointed group in there.”
Just down the hall, however, there was a completely different set of emotions.
After losing out to the Pats in a game seven last year, the Swift Current Broncos were savouring a win that got them one step closer to their Memorial Cup goals, but they also enjoyed getting just a little bit of revenge.
Not only were there several returning Broncos players who remembered vividly losing to the Pats last season but at the trade deadline, Swift Current added players from Calgary and Lethbridge who also saw their 2017 post-season come to an end at the hands of the Pats providing a little extra motivation.
“I’d be lying if I said no,” admitted Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin, who scored one of his teams three goals.
“As a team, we wanted that one bad and the feeling we got now is nice but that’s just one series.”
One that didn’t come easy. But both coaches agreed that game seven was the best-played game of a series that saw incredible swings in momentum from game to game and blowout scoring.
“I thought that (this game) could have went either way,” said Broncos head coach Manny Viveiros.
“Going in, we felt we were the favourites which is always difficult in a series like this, but we also knew Regina – how good they were and we knew very well that they could beat us,” Vivreios continued. “They were that good. It’s a shame that someone had to lose, they’re deserving of winning this series also too. Still having said that we’re still happy going through.”
Gawdin also tipped his cap to the Swift Current Broncos fans who, armed with cowbells and Kubic chants, he felt were the difference makers for them.
“The crowd and the atmosphere we’ve been having is unreal and it’s been our backbone all season.”
The Broncos round two opponent will be determined on Tuesday night when the Prince Albert Raiders play the Moose Jaw Warriors in a game seven battle of their own.
The Pats meanwhile will take a few days to regroup before taking to the ice again to ready themselves for the Memorial Cup.