The Estevan Bruins made the long bus ride up north to La Ronge over the weekend and after pair of games, are returning home with 1 out of 4 possible points.
Friday night’s game turned into a back-and-forth thriller with the Bruins storming out of the gate. Just 41 seconds in, Mitch Kohner drove the net and deflected home a perfect pass from Sal Collora to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead. Then shortly after at 2:08, Ilia Chmelevski was left alone in the slot and sniped his 4th of the year to make it 2-0, with Keagon Little and Aleksa Babic assisting. La Ronge would score later in the period making it 2-1 after the 1st period.
The Bruins restored their two-goal lead at the 6:34 mark as Owen Barrow found a rebound in front, spun around, and scored his 10th of the year to make it 3-1 with Gabriel Filion assisting. However, La Ronge would tie the game before the end of the period with two late goals making it 3-3 after two periods.
La Ronge would take their first lead of the game 3:00 into the final frame as a point shot beat Bruins’ netminder Cam Hrdlicka to make it 4-3 for the Ice Wolves. It stayed that way until the 12:45 mark when the Bruins would tie up the game once again. Garett Zasitko won an offensive zone draw back to Babic, who’s point shot was gathered in front by Kohner who scored his second of the game and 12th of the year to make it 4-4 and eventually send the game to overtime.
Neither team could score in the extra frame so the game would be decided in the shootout. After Bruins’ defenceman Owen Miley was stopped, La Ronge captain Walker Jerome scored to give the Ice Wolves the advantage. Kohner shot second for Estevan but was also stopped, while Hrdlicka stopped his shooter to extend the shootout. Little would need to score to keep the Bruins alive, but he was also stopped and La Ronge skated off with a 5-4 shootout win. The Bruins earn a point in the loss.
Cam Hrdlicka (42/46) was tagged with the loss, but played well especially in overtime where the Bruins were outshot 5-0. Topher Chirico (33/37) earned the win for La Ronge.
The Bruins have had solid special teams play lately, but not on Friday night. The Bruins went a scoreless (0/6) on the powerplay, while La Ronge scored a pair (2/8) on the man advantage.
Saturday night’s rematch would not be quite the same battle, but would be another rough and rowdy game as the animosity between the two teams continued to build.
La Ronge took advantage of some early power plays and a slow start for the Bruins, as the Ice Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Bruins has three power plays in the 2nd period but couldn’t convert, while La Ronge added a pair of goals to make it 5-0 after 40 minutes.
In the 3rd period, La Ronge scored again to make it 6-0 at the 5:38 mark, but there would be plenty more action immediately following the goal. Several players on each team started throwing punches and pairing off as the officials tried to separate and settle things down. It took almost 10 minutes to sort out all the calls, and the online stats couldn’t be updated until the next day.
The Bruins would spoil the shutout as Ilia Chmelevski scored his 5th of the year from Mitch Kohner at the 14:04 mark, but that would be all as La Ronge finished with a 6-1 win.
Cam Hrdlicka (35/41) was tagged with the loss while Topher Chirico (37/38) earned the win.
The Bruins struggled on special teams again on Saturday, going (0/5) on the powerplay while La Ronge went (3/8).
The Bruins (23-17-1-2) will now return home for a few days of practice before another long bus ride up north, as they prepare to take on the Flin Flon Bombers (24-10-2-1) in two games on January 27-28th.