Whether you were a player for the Estevan Bruins, an exuberant fan in the stands, or one of the hundreds of stuffed animals that were tossed on the ice…everyone left Affinity Place with a big smile after a completely successful night for the hockey club on Wednesday.
Tanner Manz scored the ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ goal in record-fashion just 11 seconds after opening faceoff, Keenan Rancier and the Bruins’ defence shut the door on the league-leading North Stars with time winding down in the 3rd period, and the Estevan Bruins knocked off Battlefords 3-2 in regulation.
It was the final meeting of the season between the two clubs, with the Bruins unable to earn a point against Battlefords in three previous games despite a pair of empty-net losses and a late 3rd period collapse in Battlefords just two weeks earlier.
The Bruins started the game on fire looking to build off a 3-2 win over Notre Dame in their previous game on Saturday. As fans were still finding their seats after getting their Teddy Bears to toss in the lobby, Tanner Manz would deflect home his 9th goal off a point shot from Dayton Deics to put the Bruins ahead 1-0 just 11 seconds into the game. The game would be delayed for approximately 5 minutes as the stuffed animals rained onto the ice and were cleaned off by members of the team.
When play resumed, the goals continued to come with the North Stars tying the game at the 7:12 mark as Elijah Loon-Stewardson scored to make it 1-1. But just 69 seconds later, the Bruins would retake the lead thanks to another highlight-reel goal from the captain.
Defenceman Alex Von Sprecken held the offensive blueline for the Bruins and fired a shot towards the net where it would be knocked down before making it to the goal. Jayden Davis would find the loose puck near the side of the net and pull off the ‘between-the-legs’ shot top corner past North Stars’ netminder Austin Schwab for his 10th goal of the season to make it 2-1.
Just a few minutes later, Griffin Asham-Moroz would pick up a rebound in tight and slip it past Schwab to put the Bruins up 3-1 at the 11:53 mark of the 1st period. The goal, assisted by Von Sprecken and Tylor Ludwar, chased Schwab from the net as he was replaced by Adam Dmyterko for the remainder of the game.
It remained 3-1 into the 2nd period and the middle frame would end up scoreless as the Bruins carried a two-goal lead into the final period.
The Bruins’ defence would remain stingy throughout the 3rd period keeping the North Stars offence at bay. It remained 3-1 until the final minutes when a Bruins penalty and Battlefords pulling their goalie led to a 6-on-4 powerplay which the North Stars capitalized on as Matthias Urbanski scored on a rebound with 1:41 left to play.
Impressive work by the Bruins’ defence in the dying seconds led to Battlefords being unable to enter the offensive zone and in fact the North Stars were called for a ‘Too Many Men’ on the ice call when trying to pull Dmyterko for the extra attacker. The Bruins didn’t allow another shot on goal and skated off with a 3-2 victory.
Keenan Rancier (29/31) was his usual stellar self in net, shutting the door on Battlefords potent offence all night. Austin Schwab (6/9) was tagged with the loss, while Adam Dmyterko (26/26) didn’t allow a goal in 46 minutes of play.
The Bruins (0/4) were shut out on the powerplay, while Battlefords went (1/4) on the man advantage as they scored late on that 6-on-4 powerplay.
The win puts the Bruins (11-13-2-1) up to 10th overall in the standings with multiple games in hand on every other team in the league. Their next action is on Friday, December 6th at 7:30 in Melville against the Millionaires.