The Estevan Bruins grinded out a 6-5 shootout win over the La Ronge Ice Wolves on Wednesday night, bouncing back after a 9-2 defeat in Melfort the night before to split the start of their 4-game Northern road trip.
The Bruins came into the Mel Hegland Uniplex expecting a full effort from the Ice Wolves after a huge 8-0 win a week over La Ronge earlier back in Estevan. But the Bruins were ready for battle and never trailed in the game.
Tyler Savage opened the scoring 8:04 into the game, capitalizing on a turnover and scoring a beauty on a breakaway to make it 1-0. However, La Ronge would even the score at 1-1 as Ty Budai evened the score at the 16:57 mark to tie the game heading into the 2nd period.
Mason Strutt scored his 2nd of the season just 3:41 into the middle frame to make it 2-1, with Ryder Pierson and Dayton Deics assisting. After La Ronge’s Stewart Pond scored at 6:45 to make it 2-2, the same line would strike again for the Bruins as Pierson picked top corner off the rush for his 2nd of the year to make it 3-2. Strutt and Caleb Petrie assisted.
Just 38 seconds later, the Ice Wolves would tie it back up at 3-3 with Budai’s 2nd of the game. Shortly thereafter at the 15:27 mark, Savage’s initial stop would be stopped but his second effort while falling poked the loose puck home for his 2nd of the game and 11th of the season to restore the lead at 4-3. But yet again, La Ronge would respond before the intermission as Daylon Mannon scored shorthanded at the 19:31 mark to make it 4-4 after 40 minutes.
But the Bruins would regain their lead early in the 3rd period as Jayden Davis buried a cross-ice pass just 1:00 in for his 19th of the year to make it 5-4. Eddie Gallagher and Isaiah Thomas assisted on the play.
The Bruins would hold the lead for much of the period, but one last time La Ronge would tie the game back up as Spencer Kennedy scored 11:17 in to tie the game at 5-5. Neither team would score again and the game would head to overtime.
Each team had chances to win it in overtime, including La Ronge on a 4-on-3 powerplay. But Randy Cooke stood tall in net and the game would head to a shootout.
In the 1st round with La Ronge electing to shoot first, both the Ice Wolves’ Ty Budai and Bruins’ Mason Strutt were stopped.
In the 2nd round, Daylon Mannon would score for La Ronge while Tyler Savage hit the crossbar.
In the 3rd round, Randy Cooke would stop Spencer Kennedy. That meant Eddie Gallagher had to score to extend the shootout, as he deked out La Ronge’s Xavier Cannon to tie the shootout at 1-1.
In the 4th round, both Booker Chacalias and Isaiah Thomas were stopped.
In the 5th round, Stewart Pond was stopped and Ryder Pierson hit the post.
In the 6th round, both Jordan Mish and Griffin Asham-Moroz were stopped.
In the 7th round, Nolan Doell was stopped by Cooke. That set up Bruins’ defenceman Tylor Ludwar who was playing for the first time since missing the last 8 games with an injury. Ludwar executed a perfect deke and shot five-hole for the game-winning goal as the Bruins celebrated a 6-5 shootout win together at center ice.
Randy Cooke (39/44, 6/7 in shootout) earned the win in net with an outstanding performance for the Bruins. Xavier Cannon (28/33, 5/7 in the shootout) was tagged with the loss for La Ronge.
The Bruins (1/5) scored once on the powerplay, while La Ronge (0/5) did not score on the powerplay but did score shorthanded.
With the win, the Bruins improve to (27-22-3-1) with 58 points. The Bruins need only 1 more point to officially clinch a playoff berth, with 9th place Kindersley 9 points behind with five games remaining.
Looking above in the standings, Humboldt (59PTS) is in 7th, Nipawin (62PTS) is in 6th, Melfort (63PTS) is in 5th, and La Ronge (64PTS) is in 4th. The Bruins have two games in hand on Humboldt, one game in hand on Nipawin and La Ronge, and have played one extra game than Melfort.
The Bruins close out the road trip in Flin Flon (Friday) and Nipawin (Saturday), with both games at 7:30pm.