It was quite the showcase for a trio of Estevan Bruins players in Winnipeg the past two days.
Three Bruins (goaltender Cam Hrdlicka, defenceman Aleksa Babic, and forward Jag Phangura) represented the team along with several other SJHL standouts at the 2023 SJHL-MJHL Showcase from Jan. 31st-Feb. 1st.
Hrdlicka was a late addition to the event as the star goaltender wasn’t originally selected for the event, despite another strong season in net for the Bruins including currently leading the SJHL in shutouts (5). However, Hrdlicka joined the ‘Gold’ team after Melfort’s Joel Favreau withdrew due to injury.
Similarly, Bruins’ captain Kade Runke had to withdraw for the event after originally being selected to play. Runke is also resting a minor injury, and decided to try and fully recover for the Bruins’ stretch run to the playoffs.
Hrdlicka would dress for Team Gold and got the start in the team’s second game against some of the very best MJHL players this season. Hrdlicka’s offence would help out, scoring early and often. And Hrdlicka was his usual, amazing self in net as he stopped all 35 shots he faced for a shutout in Team Gold’s 6-0 win. Hrdlicka was not named as the game MVP, as Battlefords’ Kian Bell took home the honour after scoring a hat trick.
After the game, Hrdlicka would say: “Being able to have such a good game, after not even being on the roster, was pretty special.”
“In hockey, you get chances and you’ve got to capitalize on them.”
Jag Phangura was selected to play on Team Blue, fully comprised of players aged 18 and younger. Phangura has been one of the top scorers in the SJHL among 18U players this year, and showed off his skills in both games.
Phangura had 1 goal and 1 assist in his teams’ 5-4 win on Tuesday, including an unassisted goal Phangura scored shorthanded after a terrific individual effort. In Game Two, Phangura would score again helping lead his team to an 8-2 win on Wednesday. Phangura’s 3 points would be 2nd most and his 2 goals was tied for most for Team Blue in the event.
Aleksa Babic was selected for Team White thanks to his outstanding season for the Bruins to this point. Babic played regular minutes in all situations in 2 games at the event, finishing with 0 points and 2 PIM’s as Team White lost both games by scores of 4-0 and 4-2.
The three players all enjoyed the experience in getting to play alongside some of the top players in the SJHL, while also showcasing themselves in front of scouts for a chance to secure a spot with a program following their junior careers.