MUSTANGS LEAD BEST-OF-7 (2-1); GAME 4 WEDNESDAY IN ESTEVAN
The fans showed up and the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins delivered in Game 3 of their SJHL semi-final series with the Melfort Mustangs.
Turner Ripplinger, Tanner Manz, and Tristyn Deroose scored, with the Bruins defence and Grant Boldt shutting the door on Melfort’s offence in the final period as the Bruins defeated the Mustangs 3-2 in front of almost 2,000 fans at Affinity Place.
After dropping the first two games in Melfort over the weekend (6-2, 3-1), the Bruins were looking forward to getting back to Estevan and using their league-best home-ice advantage to get back into the Best-of-7 series. However, the Bruins would have to do it shorthanded with forward Bryce Platt (1-game suspension) out of the lineup.
For the third straight game, the Bruins would open the scoring against the Mustangs while shorthanded with Eddie Gallagher in the penalty box.
A good forecheck on Melfort’s defence on an attempted breakout forced a bad turnover to Bruins forward Turner Ripplinger. The Bruins leading playoff scorer ripped a shot to beat Melfort’s Noah Giesbrecht glove-side and give Estevan a 1-0 lead at the 7:20 mark of the 1st period. It’s Ripplinger’s 3rd goal of the postseason and 10th point to lead the Bruins.
That lead would be short-lived however as on the same powerplay just 27 seconds later, Zach Anderson would finish off a nice passing play to beat Grant Boldt and even the game at 1-1 at the 7:47 mark.
But the Bruins would regain the lead before intermission as at the 16:18 mark, Tanner Manz sent a shot on goal that eluded Giesbrecht and gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead heading into intermission. Tyson Manz and Johnny Witzke assisted on Tanner Manz’s 2nd of the playoffs.
The Bruins would build on their lead in the 2nd period thanks to Game 7 overtime hero: Tristyn Deroose.
Less than a minute after killing off a Jayden Davis minor for unsportsmanlike conduct (which Davis received after being hauled down on a breakaway to no penalty call which sent the fans in Affinity Place in an uproar), Gallagher sent a breakout pass to Deroose on the wing. Deroose lowered his shoulder to out-muscle his defender and drove towards the net. Deroose then picked top corner on Giesbrecht, sending the waterbottle flying and lifting the fans out of their seats for a 3-1 Bruins lead at the 11:40 mark of the 2nd period. Following the goal, Giesbrecht would be replaced by backup Shawn Parkinson in net for Melfort.
In the final minutes of the period, Melfort would keep the game close as Colin Schmidt beat Boldt at the 17:04 mark, making it 3-2 heading into the final period.
Both teams would search for the crucial next goal in the final frame, with good chances at both ends of the rink. But both goalies stood their ground until the final minute when Melfort pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. Despite a few offensive zone faceoff opportunities, the Mustangs were unable to get any shots through on Boldt and the Bruins defence held strong until the final buzzer rang out in a 3-2 win for Estevan.
Grant Boldt (17/19) was stellar in goal for the Bruins in the victory, while Noah Giesbrecht (19/22) was tagged with the loss for Melfort. Shawn Parkinson (14/14) was perfect in relief for the final 27:20 of regulation.
The Bruins powerplay (0/5) was shut out on the night, but Ripplinger’s shorthanded goal helped offset that. The Bruins lead the SJHL playoffs with 5 shorthanded goals in 10 games. Melfort went (1/2) on the man advantage.
An energetic crowd of 1,978 fans created an outstanding atmosphere in Game 3, with the Certified Energy Services 50/50 jackpot exceeding $20,000.
The two teams do it all over again on Wednesday night at Affinity Place in Estevan. The Bruins look to even the series up before the series shifts back up to Melfort for Game 5 on Friday, April 5th.
Tristyn Deroose Muscles Past A Melfort Defender Moments Before Scoring The Eventual Game-Winning Goal In Game 3. (Photo: Durr Photography)