It ended up being a perfect start to the 2021-22 season for the Estevan Bruins as they completed an opening weekend sweep over the Yorkton Terriers on Saturday night.
After earning a 2-1 victory in the home opener on Friday in Estevan, the two teams met again for the rematch in Yorkton on Saturday in what would end up being another nailbiter until the end.
The Terriers would open the scoring on Saturday as a point shot would be deflected by Maddux Nollski past Bruins’ starter Boston Bilous, and Yorkton would lead 1-0 after the 1st period.
But the Bruins’ would answer back just 11 seconds into the 2nd period as Griffin Asham-Moroz would finish off a pretty passing play with a beautiful move past Yorkton’s Jacob Herman to even the score at 1-1 with his first tally of the year. Assists to Brandon Ambrozik and Mark Rumsey. That line would strike again later in the period, as Ambrozik neatly deflected a point shot from Aleksa Babic past Herman for Ambrozik’s first career SJHL goal to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead after two periods. Asham-Moroz also assisted on the goal.
The Bruins started the 3rd period shorthanded, but were still able to extend their lead less than a minute into the frame. Olivier Pouliot would pick up the loose puck in his own zone and fly down the right wing. After crossing the blueline, Pouliot found a streaking Mark Rumsey with a perfect pass and Rumsey made no mistake sniping top shelf for his first of the season to make it 3-1. However, Yorkton answered back on the same powerplay just 30 seconds later as Clay Sleeva’s shot eluded Bilous to make it 3-2.
The Bruins would get a powerplay goal of their own less than two minutes later, as Mikol Sartor patiently held the puck behind the net and found Rumsey at the top of the crease where he pounded home his second of the period to restore the lead at 4-2. Pouliot also grabbed an assist on Rumsey’s powerplay marker.
Yorkton would again make it a one-goal game with less than four minutes left in the game, as another point shot would be deflected past Bilous by Karsten Kruska to make it 4-3. That set up a hectic final minute of play, as not only did Yorkton pull the goalie for the extra attacker, but the Bruins took two minor penalties and Yorkton briefly had a 6-on-3 opportunity to force overtime. But Bilous and the Bruins’ penalty killers would hold their ground and then with 8 seconds left, Yorkton took a holding penalty which sent the faceoff all the way to the Terriers’ zone. Yorkton wouldn’t earn another chance, and the Bruins’ skated off with a 4-3 victory to sweep the weekend doubleheader.
Boston Bilous made 23 saves in earning back-to-back wins in net for Estevan, while Yorkton’s Jacob Herman wasn’t tested much in the game and only made 12 saves in the loss. The Bruins finished (1/5) on the powerplay while Yorkton went (1/8) on the man advantage.
The Bruins joined the Humboldt Broncos and Nipawin Hawks as the only teams to win both games on opening weekend. The other two teams in the Viterra Division, Melville and Weyburn, had their opening weekend postponed out of caution after a COVID situation with Melville.
Both Weyburn and Melville are expected to be able to play next weekend, and those are the Bruins’ next two opponents. The Bruins will travel to Melville next Friday, Oct. 1st for the Millionaires’ home opener, then to Weyburn the next night on Saturday, Oct. 2nd for the Red Wings’ home opener. Both games are at 7:30pm and both games will be broadcast on Rock106.