The Estevan Bruins played the first half of a home-and-home series against the Notre Dame Hounds on Thursday night, losing 3-2 to the Hounds for the first time in four games so far this season.
While Estevan clinched a playoff berth in their previous game last Saturday, the Hounds are needing a late-season hot streak to catch Weyburn for the 8th and final spot with less than two weeks left in the regular season. Notre Dame earned a 5-4 regulation win over Weyburn on Tuesday, so they were looking to make up more ground at home against the Bruins.
There were plenty of powerplay chances for both teams in the game, and early in the 1st period Notre Dame would use the man advantage to take a 1-0 lead at the 4:43 mark. However, the Bruins would tie things up at 1-1 before the intermission on a powerplay of their own. Owen Miley and Evan Forrest played give-and-go near the blue line before Forrest fed Dan O’Neill who one-timed home his 2nd of the season to tie the game at the 18:04 mark.
The 2nd period would be scoreless, however with only seconds remaining the Bruins would be given the extra penalty after a post-whistle scrum in front of Cam Hrdlicka. The call came during a current Bruins’ penalty kill, so Notre Dame would start the 3rd period with a 5-on-3 powerplay for almost two full minutes.
Sure enough, the Hounds would capitalize by scoring both a 5-on-3 goal and a 5-on-4 goal just 30 seconds apart to start the period and take a 3-1 lead. It stayed that way until the 13:22 mark when the Bruins would make it a one-goal game.
On the powerplay once again, the Bruins would pull the goalie early to make it a 6-on-4 advantage. Brady Wilson would feed a one-time pass to Jag Phangura that was deflected in front by Gabriel Filion, as his 9th of the season cut the deficit to 3-2 with over six minutes remaining.
However, the Bruins would be unable to find the equalizer despite firing 16 shots on goal in the 3rd period, and Notre Dame would defeat the Bruins 3-2 in regulation.
Cam Hrdlicka (26/29) was tagged with the loss for the Bruins, while Tucker Inabinet (42/44) earned the win for Notre Dame.
Each goal in the game was scored on the powerplay, with Estevan (2/5) and Notre Dame (3/6).
The two teams meet again for a rematch on Saturday in Estevan at 7pm. Not only are there playoff implications for both teams (Bruins are 2 PTS ahead of Nipawin for 6th overall), but it’s the annual Jersey Auction fundraiser night for the Bruins.