Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Big Win Wraps Up Solid, Yet Unsatisfying Road Trip For Bruins



After a frustrating three games where a solid overall effort ended in a low-scoring loss, the dam burst for the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins in the final game of a five-day northern road swing on Saturday night.

The Bruins defeated the Melfort Mustangs 9-4 to take the sting out of a 1-3 road trip that saw the Bruins average 42 shots/game but only score four goals in three losses before Saturday night’s offensive outburst.

The road trip began on Tuesday night with a 2-0 loss in Nipawin, an evenly-played game with the Hawks getting an empty-netter in the victory. Grant Boldt was solid in net for the Bruins making 26 saves, but was out-dueled by Declan Hobbs who had a 39-save shutout.

On Wednesday night, the Bruins would lose by two goals again in a 4-2 decision against the Flin Flon Bombers. Boldt, making his fourth straight start, stopped 32 shots for Estevan but again the opposing goaltender, Flin Flon’s Jacob Delorme (39 saves), was the game’s first star. The Bombers led 2-0 after the 1st period before Austin King-Cunningham’s first SJHL goal made it 2-1 after two periods. The Bombers took a 3-1 lead before Michael McChesney scored to make it 3-2 with 2:45 left to play. But the SJHL’s leading scorer Brandson Hein responded a minute later to make the final score 4-2.

After a day off on Thursday, the Bruins travelled up to La Ronge on Friday to take on the Ice Wolves. TJ Irey gave the Bruins their first lead of the road trip with a 1st period marker to make it 1-0. However, midway through the 2nd period, La Ronge scored three goals in just over three minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Jake Heerspink scored to make it 3-2 after two periods, but the Bruins were unable to come up with the equalizer in the 3rd period as Estevan lost their third straight game. Jake Anthony was very solid in goal for the Bruins (31 saves), but again it would be the opposing goaltender in the Ice Wolves’ Daniel Davidson (47 saves) frustrating the Bruins’ skaters in yet another losing effort.

The final game of a road trip that the team felt should have ended with better results culminated in an offensive explosion for the black-and-gold and their lone win of the week.

The Bruins took the lead early and never looked back, leading 3-1 after 20 minutes thanks to goals from Turner Ripplinger, Eddie Gallagher and TJ Irey. The 2nd period provided the same amount of goals for each team, with Irey scoring his second of the game (PP), and Jayden Davis and Bryce Platt also getting on the scoresheet to make it 6-2 Estevan after two periods. After an early goal by Melfort to start the 3rd period, the Bruins scored another three goals with Davis getting his second of the night along with Heerspink and George Cathers (PP). The Mustangs scored with seven seconds left to round out the scoring in a 9-4 final. Kadin Kilpatrick, making only his third appearance of the season and the first action since October 3rd, made 27 saves in the victory. Hunter Arps (10/14) was tagged with the loss for Melfort, but Jack Walters (20/25) also allowed five goals in relief as Estevan’s offence could not be stopped.

Despite gaining only 2 out of a possible 8 points on the road trip, the Bruins (8-10) are still in second place in the Viterra Division behind the Yorkton Terriers (8-6-1). Thanks to Saturday’s big win and close, frustrating defeats, Estevan finished the road trip with an even goal-differential (13 GF, 13 GA) and have a +5 goal differential on the season. They are the only team in the division with a positive goal-differential (Yorkton: -6, Weyburn: -10, Melville: -34).

The Bruins return home for three straight games looking to get back above .500.

Friday, Nov. 2nd – vs Battlefords North Stars – 7:30pm

Saturday, Nov. 3rd – vs Kindersley Klippers – 7:30pm

Tuesday, Nov. 6th – vs Yorkton Terriers – 7:00pm

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