The Estevan Bruins travelled up to Humboldt for their final overnight road trip of the regular season on the weekend, and were unable to grab a win in the doubleheader against the Broncos.
FRIDAY – Comeback Falls Short In 5-4 Loss
The Bruins entered the weekend beginning to get hit by the injury bug, missing both Keagon Little and Robbie Stewart for both games despite getting Kade Runke back after the Bruins’ captain missed the last three games with injury. The Bruins also called up forward Carsyn Dyck from U18AAA Warman for the game.
Humboldt would take the early 1-0 lead, but late in the 1st period Mitch Kohner would score on a breakaway for his 15th of the year with 53 seconds remaining. Holdin Getzlaf and Sal Collora assisted on the 1-1 goal, but the Broncos would score with 10 seconds left to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
Humboldt would extend their lead early in the 2nd period scoring three times to lead 5-1 midway through the game. The Bruins would have to chip away at the lead one goal at a time, and that started when Collora scored his 8th of the year at the 12:07 mark to make it 5-2 after two periods. Kohner and Ilia Chmelevski assisted on the goal.
Kade Runke got back on the scoresheet scoring a powerplay goal off a pretty feed from Cody Davis to make it 5-3 at the 6:17 mark of the 3rd period. Aleksa Babic added his team-leading 34th assist on the goal as well. Then at the 16:04 mark, the Bruins cut the deficit to 5-4 as Davis banged home a rebound in tight for his 15th of the year. Kohner assisted on the goal for his 3rd point of the night, with Jag Phangura also adding a helper.
The Bruins would have several chances in the final four minutes to try and tie the game, but ultimately were unsuccessful and the game ended in a 5-4 defeat.
Cam Hrdlicka (36/41) was tagged with the loss for the Bruins, though he played well despite allowing five goals in the first half of the game. Jared Picklyk (40/44) earned the win for Humboldt. The Bruins went (2/7) on the powerplay, while Humboldt went (1/3) on the man advantage.
SATURDAY – Bad Breaks In 4-1 Loss
The injury list for the Bruins, which has always seemed to have 1 or 2 big names on it for most of the year, got even longer by the time Saturday night concluded. Already missing Stewart and Little, the Bruins would be without Collora for Saturday’s game. As well, Dan O’Neill was issued a 3-game suspension stemming from a major hit-to-the-head penalty in Friday’s game. As a result, the Bruins called up forward Ryan Zaremba and defenceman Jagden Taylor from U18AAA Regina for the game.
Despite missing several key players, the Bruins battled hard on Saturday night though the second-place Broncos played an aggressive game firing plenty of shots at starter Jackson Miller. Humboldt would score the lone goal of the 1st period with a shorthanded goal, coming off a defensive zone turnover where Aleksa Babic lost an edge and gave up the puck.
The Broncos extended their lead to 2-0 on a powerplay goal late in the 2nd period. After the Bruins had 5 consecutive powerplays, including two extended 5-on-3 opportunities, the Broncos scored after Cody Davis took a stick up in the face that knocked his helmet off that went uncalled. As Davis skated off to the bench, Humboldt had plenty of space to work the puck and score from the slot.
Humboldt extended the lead to 3-0 just 3:07 into the 3rd period on another bad break, literally. Kade Runke’s stick broke in half off the defensive zone faceoff, and the Broncos capitalized almost immediately by scoring just seconds later. With the Bruins needing a big comeback, Coach Jason Tatarnic pulled the goalie while on a powerplay midway through the period for a 6-on-4 advantage. However, Humboldt would score from the other end of the ice as the puck bounced into the net to make it 4-0. The Bruins would spoil the shutout with only 36 seconds left in the game as Gabriel Filion put a rebound home for his 8th of the year assisted by Sam McPeak and Garett Zasitko to make the final score 4-1.
Jackson Miller (35/38) made several big saves throughout the game and kept the Bruins in it, but was tagged with the loss. Ben Motew (24/25) earned the win for Humboldt.
The Bruins struggled on special teams in the loss, going (0/9) on the powerplay and gave up a shorthanded goal, while Humboldt went (1/4) on the powerplay.
The Bruins wouldn’t get out of the game without more injuries, as both Mitch Kohner and Tyler Guy are now expected to miss some time and join the injured list.
The Bruins (24-21-3-2, 6th) will play two games this week, in Melville (13-28-5-1) on Wednesday and hosting Yorkton (15-31-0-1) at Affinity Place on Saturday at 7pm.