ARTICLE FROM DISCOVER ESTEVAN: Written by: Nolan Kowal on October 26th, 2021
Among the many strong suits of this year’s Estevan Bruins squad is the two men between the pipes.
Netminders Boston Bilous and Cam Hrdlicka have helped guide the Bruins to a 7-3-0-1 record in the early stages of the season.
Bilous has been particularly strong of late, making 41 saves in a win over the Flin Flon Bombers last week and picking up his first shutout of the season this past weekend against Melville.
“That’s the job as a goalie is to try to find consistency every night and just give your team a chance to win,” Bilous said.
With 97 games of Western Hockey League experience under his belt, Bilous says he’ll be a leader this year.
“I think anyone who’s in junior hockey at 20 (years-old)…they’re in that leadership role,” he said. “You’re an older guy and especially if you’ve played a few years. Obviously my job is to stop the puck and trust me that’s my first focus, but it’s trying to help people out when I can, trying to be a leader in areas I can.”
Anyone who has seen the Langley, BC native play a game this season knows he’s an avid puck handler.
“I might play the puck too much, but I like it and I definitely believe it helps the team in a way most of the time,” Bilous said. “It’s certainly something I’ve practiced and I’ll continue to do that.”
Cam Hrdlicka, who is in his first season of Junior A hockey, is backing up Bilous this year and has looked very sharp in the early going, with a 2.03 goals against average and a .933 save percentage in two starts.
The 18-year-old from Calgary says he’s learning a lot from his experienced teammate in net.
“He’s kind of taken me under his wing a bit because he’s got a lot of experience,” Hrdlicka said. “There’s a lot worse positions I could be than behind a guy with so much experience in his hockey career, so I’m pretty happy where I’m at right now with him.”
Puck handling and leadership are two traits of Bilous that stand out to Hrdlicka.
“I’m always watching his puck handling in practice and in games. Just his confidence going out there is really something that I’m trying to incorporate a bit more into my game. But then also just his mindset. He’s a great leader off the ice and he’s talking to the team. There’s lots of goalies who are really quiet and kind of distanced from everyone but he’s definitely a leader and if he wasn’t a goalie, I’m pretty sure he would be one of our captains.”
Bilous, who has a 6-2-1 record to go along with a 2.21 goals against average and a .922 save percentage, commended his goaltending partner for how far he has come since training camp began.
“I give a lot of kudos to Cam. I don’t think many people knew him coming into camp and he worked his tail off, and he’s a great partner. He’s played two great games and it’s nice to see he got his first win not too long ago (a 4-1 win against Nipawin),” Bilous said.
“It’s been an awesome relationship, and I’m excited to have a full season with him. He’s a great goalie and an awesome teammate.”