The Power Dodge Estevan Bruins want to take care of some #UnfinishedBusiness this season, and it got started on a winning note on Friday night against the Melville Millionaires.
Michael McChesney scored the lone goal and Jake Anthony stopped all three Melville shooters in the shootout as the Bruins edged the Millionaires 5-4 in the season opener at the Horizon Credit Union Centre.
The Bruins would get their first goal of the 2018/19 season less than two minutes into the 1st period. On the powerplay, Bruins’ Captain Jake Heerspink ripped a shot from the point that deflected off a Melville defenceman into the high slot right onto the tape of TJ Irey, who fired the puck off the back crossbar to give the Bruins’ a 1-0 lead.
Melville would tie the game about five minutes later on even strength to make it 1-1. Estevan regained the lead around halfway through the period as Austin King-Cunningham started the rush with a pass up to Isaiah Thomas. Thomas raced through the neutral zone, went around his defender and fed a saucer pass in front to George Cathers. Cathers deflected the puck past Millionaires goaltender Colby Entz to make it 2-1 Bruins.
A high-scoring 1st period would end with the Millionaires tying the game on the powerplay late in the opening frame to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes.
Melville would earn their first lead of the game just over two minutes into the 2nd period with another powerplay goal to make it 3-2 for the home team.
But the Bruins would bounce back halfway through the game with a powerplay of their own. After failing to convert on an extended 5-on-3 chance, the Bruins would make it count with the man advantage as a Michael McChesney shot trickled through Entz and over the goal line, making it 3-3 after two periods of play.
Estevan would recapture the lead early in the 3rd period thanks to their captain. Already with two assists in the game, Heerspink took the feed from Irey crossing the blue line, dangled through a Melville defenceman and ripped a shot short-side past Entz to make it 4-3 Bruins.
But the back-and-forth contest would continue as the Millionaires countered just minutes later to once again tie the game at 4-4. The Bruins’ would be awarded a 5-minute powerplay with less than 5 minutes reamining after forward Matthew Chekay was driven into the boards from behind near the benches. But Melville staved off the Bruins’ push and forced overtime.
The extra frame saw a few good chances for each team, including two partial breakaways for McChesney, but after the five minute extra frame it would remain 4-4 and a shootout would be necessary to decide a winner.
After Anthony stopped the first Melville shooter, TJ Irey would miss on the first shot for Estevan keeping it even. Anthony would stop the second Melville shooter, but McChesney wouldn’t be denied again as he beat Entz with a quick shot to give Estevan the advantage.
Anthony would clinch the victory for the Bruins by stopping the final shooter for a 5-4 win on the road to open the new season.
The Bruins’ outshot Melville 39-29 in the win, with Jake Anthony stopping 25/29 for his first victory in a Bruins uniform. Both powerplays were clicking, as Estevan went 3/7 and Melville was 2/7 on the powerplay.
TJ Irey (1G, 2A)
Jake Heerspink (1G, 2A)
Mike McChesney (1G, SO Winner)
George Cathers (1G)
Johnny Witzke (1A)
Isaiah Thomas (1A)
Austin King-Cunningham (1A)
The two teams will meet again on Saturday night in the back half of the SJHL Opening Weekend home-and-home series.
The opening faceoff will come shortly after 7:30 following an player introduction ceremony. A Bruins’ Tailgate Party will be held from 4pm – 7pm outside Affinity Place before the game.