The Estevan Bruins closed out their unofficial ‘first half’ schedule on Saturday night, going into the SJHL Christmas break suffering a 5-2 defeat to the division-leading Yorkton Terriers.
Yorkton’s top line featuring SJHL leading scorer Chantz Petruic and the Taphorn brothers, Keenan and Kaedan, led the way for the Terriers in the game as they have done all season and got the scoring started early.
Just 2:02 into the game, Keenan Taphorn scored to give Yorkton a quick 1-0 lead. The line would strike again at the 9:25 mark with Petruic scoring to put the Terriers up 2-0 after the 1st period.
Yorkton would extend their lead in the middle frame, with Kaedan Taphorn scoring a pair of goals at the 7:12 mark and late in the period at the 18:43 mark to make it 4-0 Yorkton after 40 minutes of play.
The Bruins would make a game of it with Bruins’ forward Eddie Gallagher scoring a pair of goals early in the 3rd period to get his team going.
First, Gallagher would neatly deflect a point shot from Kade McMillen past Yorkton’s Ryan Ouellette just 1:23 into the period to trim the deficit to 4-1. Troy Hamilton would also draw an assist on Gallagher’s powerplay goal.
Then just minutes later at 3:49, Jayden Davis would backhand a pass from behind the net out front for Gallagher who patiently out-waited Ouellette and then deked around the goaltender before scoring his second of the game and 5th of the season to make it 4-2. Isaiah Thomas also assisted on the goal, as it was all of a sudden a two-goal game with plenty of time remaining in the 3rd period.
The Bruins would push to cut the lead to one goal as the period continued, but Ouellette made a couple of big saves and a few near-missed shots would keep it 4-2 until the final minutes when Yorkton would seal the game away.
After a very questionable high-sticking call with just over two minutes remaining, Petruic would score his second of the game (and SJHL-leading 44th goal in 39 games) as his one-timer beat Keenan Rancier with only 1:09 left in the game to make the final 5-2 for Yorkton. The Taphorn-Petruic-Taphorn line combined for all 5 Terriers’ goals in the game.
Before the final buzzer, there would be a fight as a pair of 18-year-old’s squared off in the neutral zone with Estevan’s Troy Hamilton landing several punches on Yorkton’s Ethan Robson in a lengthy bout that got a rise out of the crowd at Affinity Place.
Rancier (33/38) was again solid in net for the Bruins in the loss, while Ryan Ouellette (37/39) earned the win in net for Yorkton.
Each team scored once on the powerplay in the game, with Estevan (1/3) and Yorkton (1/4).
The Bruins head into the Christmas break with 29 points in 33 games, and a record of (13-17-2-1). Estevan sits in 10th spot in the league standings, but do have four games in hand on 8th place Kindersley (34 points in 37 games, 14-17-5-1) who currently hold the final playoff spot.
The Bruins will have 25 games remaining in the regular season when the SJHL schedule resumes following Christmas. Estevan will begin the ‘second half’ of the schedule with their annual New Years’ home-and-home series against the Weyburn Red Wings. The two teams first meet in Weyburn on Monday, December 30th at 7:30pm before the afternoon New Years Day game on Wednesday, January 1st at 3:00pm at Affinity Place in Estevan.