The Estevan Bruins were unable to string together their first 3-game win streak of the season on Friday night, falling on the road 5-2 in Melville.
After back-to-back 3-2 wins over Notre Dame and Battlefords at home, the Bruins traveled to Melville for their third meeting of the season against the Millionaires. The teams split the first two games with the road team winning each contest.
Melville got the scoring started early as a scramble around the Estevan crease led to Luke Nkwama beating Bruins’ goaltender Randy Cooke just 23 seconds into action to make it 1-0 for the home team.
However, the Bruins would tie the game midway through the frame while on the powerplay. Kade McMillen made a move around his defender at the blueline and fired a pass down low that bounced off the skate of Griffin Asham-Moroz towards the slot. Brady Nicholas attempted to shovel the puck into the net and after missing on his first two chances, Nicholas spun around and fired the puck past Melville’s Berk Berkeliev for his 4th goal of the season to make it 1-1 at the 9:48 mark.
Later in the 1st period, the Bruins’ defence would lose one of its’ key pieces as after finishing a check in the corner, a Millionaires forward would have his skate come down on the back of Austin King-Cunningham’s leg. King-Cunningham would have to be helped off the ice by trainer Dylan Lafrentz and taken to the hospital. Luckily, no major damage was done and King-Cunningham will be ok after receiving stitches to close the wound. However, King-Cunningham would not return to the game.
The game remained tied 1-1 to start the 2nd period, when the Bruins would capitalize on another powerplay to get their first lead of the game. Tanner Manz won a loose puck battle in front and fed a pass to Isaiah Thomas in the slot. Thomas passed the puck to the side of the net for Jayden Davis, who gave it right back to Thomas in the slot as he ripped a perfect wrist shot top corner for his team-leading 11th goal to make it 2-1 just 1:09 into the middle frame.
Melville would tie the game at 2-2 later in the 2nd period as Zach Bannister beat Cooke at the 12:30 mark, and the two teams would go into the 3rd period evened up.
Just 47 seconds into the 3rd period, the gloves would drop at center ice between Melville’s Max McPeak and Estevan’s Erik Boers as the Bruins forward was making his debut with his new team. As the two players engaged, McPeak got the first shot in. But from there on, Boers would take control landing multiple shots with a strong right hook and earning the takedown.
The score remained 2-2 until the 6:49 mark of the 3rd period when the Millionaires would retake the lead as Nkwama scored his second of the game to make it 3-2 for Melville.
Late in the game, the Millionaires would earn a powerplay and make it a two-goal game with Nkwama scoring yet again for the hat trick. The goal made it 4-2 with only 4:35 left to play in regulation.
The Bruins were unable to mount any more offense down the stretch and would eventually pull the goalie for the extra attacker. That would also prove unsuccessful and Melville rounded out the scoring with Rin Beny finding the empty net with 3 seconds to play for the 5-2 final.
Randy Cooke (21/25) was solid for the Bruins in net, but was tagged with the loss as the rookie is still searching for his first win of the season. Berk Berkeliev (30/32) earned the win for Melville.
The Bruins finished (2/6) on the powerplay, while Melville (1/5) scored once on the powerplay.
The Bruins will now be off until Wednesday, December 11th when they travel to Yorkton to take on the Terriers at 7:30pm.