The Estevan Bruins finished off an important 3-game homestand with another impressive victory, shutting out the La Ronge Ice Wolves 8-0 in a dominating performance on Wednesday night at Affinity Place.
Wearing their slick, new 3rd Jerseys for the first time, the Bruins came flying out of the gate and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.
For the second straight game, rookie forward Erik Boers got the scoring started with a backhand shot that beat La Ronge goaltender Liam McGarva at the 2:45 mark to make it 1-0. Ryder Pierson and Dain Sardelli assisted on Boers’ 3rd goal of the year.
Then at the 6:53 mark, Brady Nicholas sprung Cody Davis flying down the left wing. Davis went around his defender and then roofed a beautiful shot past McGarva’s blocker to make it 2-0. Eddie Gallagher also assisted on the goal, Cody Davis’ 11th of the year.
Just a few minutes afterwards at the 9:25 mark, the Bruins came in on a broken 3-on-1 chance. Tyler Savage’s shot would be partially blocked, but Tyson Manz batted the loose puck towards the net and Griffin Asham-Moroz buried it into the net for his 17th goal of the season to make it 3-0 for the Bruins after the 1st period.
In the 2nd period, the Bruins would extend their lead to 4-0 while on the powerplay. Isaiah Thomas would float a shot-pass towards the net with McGarva making the initial save, but Eddie Gallagher finished the rebound for his 12th goal of the season to make it 4-0. Devan Harrison also assisted on the goal, as the Bruins would carry their four-goal lead into the 3rd period.
The final 20 minutes of game-time would end up taking more than an hour of real-time, as the combination of penalties, scrums, and Bruins’ goals resulted in a very long final period of play.
Just 1:13 into the period, Austin King-Cunningham would finish a check behind the net on La Ronge forward Jordan Mish. King-Cunningham was about to get a penalty for interference on the play, which ended up being called a 5-minute major penalty as Mish lay on the ice for several minutes, but miraculously returned to play on his next shift and for the rest of the period. On the same stoppage of play, King-Cunningham was knocked to the ice by Ty Budai. While King-Cunningham was on his knees, La Ronge forward Jake Gudjonson skated over to King-Cunningham from behind and delivered a disgusting and vicious cross-check to the back of King-Cunningham’s neck, resulting in an upper-body injury to King-Cunningham. Gudjonson was issued a 2-minute minor for cross-checking.
After the dust settled, it would be 4-on-4 hockey but La Ronge would take a slashing penalty just 33 seconds later and the Bruins would capitalize on the ensuing powerplay. A perfect passing play from Harrison to Jayden Davis to Thomas to Tanner Manz resulted in Manz getting his 17th goal of the year (and team-leading 9th powerplay goal) to increase the lead to 5-0 at the 2:51 mark.
Just a few minutes later, the Bruins were shorthanded on a 5-on-3 penalty kill but would still be able to score the next goal. A good stick by Jayden Davis would force a turnover as the Bruins’ captain poked the puck past his defender and Davis raced in on a breakaway. Davis’ shot was stopped by McGarva, however the rebound came to Davis who passed the puck back to Thomas following up and he made no mistake. Thomas’ 15th goal of the season made it 6-0 Bruins at the 5:51 mark.
After another scrum in the corner minutes later resulted in over 40 combined PIM being handed out, the rough play would continue as Asham-Moroz and La Ronge defenceman Kevin Fillier dropped the gloves for a spirited fight at the 9:21 mark.
The Bruins’ offence kept rolling as at the 10:38 mark, Boers grabbed the puck behind the net and sent a perfect pass out front to Tyson Manz as he finished for his 5th goal of the year to make it 7-0. Sardelli also assisted on the goal.
A few minutes later at the 12:55 mark, La Ronge forward Holden Knights would be issued a 5-minute major for a blow to the head after a high-targeted hit on Dain Sardelli. Knights also took a 4-minute slew-footing penalty earlier in the 3rd period.
Then at the 16:15 mark during a 4-on-3 powerplay for the Bruins, a point-shot from Harrison would be deflected by Boers on net with Ryder Pierson batting the puck home for his 1st goal of the season to make it 8-0. On the play, La Ronge goaltender Liam McGarva would spray his water bottle at the official. The referee immediately issued a Gross Misconduct penalty to McGarva who was kicked out of the game. However while being escorted off the ice by the linesman, McGarva attempted to force his way towards the referee and while trying to escape the grasp of the linesman, McGarva struck the linesman with his blocker and right arm. McGarva was eventually pushed off the ice but not before being assessed a 5-minute major penalty for Physical Harrassment of an Official. That would end up being the final notable moment of the game and the Bruins would earn the 8-0 shutout victory.
Keenan Rancier (27/27) was perfect in net for Estevan, earning his second shutout of the season. Liam McGarva (42/50) was tagged with the loss in net, with Xavier Cannon (2/2) coming in to play the final 3:45 of the game after McGarva’s penalties.
The penalty-portion of the scoresheet was filled for both teams in the game. The Bruins took 16 penalties for a total of 62 PIM, while La Ronge took 24 penalties for a total of 121 PIM. The Bruins executed on (3/10) of their powerplay’s, while La Ronge (0/6) were unsuccessful on their chances.
With the win, the Bruins (25-21-3-1) leapfrogged over the idle Humboldt Broncos (22-20-7-2) by 1 point into the 7th overall seed in the standings, with Estevan still holding a game in hand on Humboldt. The Bruins remain 5 points ahead of 9th place Kindersley (21-23-6-1), and are 5 points back of Melfort and La Ronge for the 5th/6th overall seeds.
The Bruins will play their next 7 games away from Affinity Place, starting on Friday, February 14th with a date against the Melville Millionaires at 7:30pm.