The Estevan Bruins and Humboldt Broncos faced each other in two games over the weekend in a battle between two of the top teams in the SJHL. Entering the weekend, both teams were on long winning streaks (Humboldt – 8, Estevan – 5) and by the end of the weekend both those streaks came to an end.
SATURDAY – BRUINS WIN 6-2
The hometown Bruins got the better of Humboldt on Saturday night starting it off with a bang and jumping out to a 3-0 lead after the 1st period. Defencemen Billy Sowa and Matt Millette each scored their first goals of the year, with a Caelan Fitzpatrick powerplay goal sandwiched in between. Humboldt would cut the deficit to 3-1 after two periods with Matthew Perkins scoring on the powerplay, but the Bruins would pull away in the 3rd period.
Fitzpatrick finished off a shorthanded 2-on-1 opportunity early in the 3rd period for his second of the game and 10th goal of the year to increase the lead to 4-1. Just a few minutes later, Mark Rumsey fired home his team-leading 12th goal of the season off a powerplay faceoff to make it 5-1. Then newcomer Eric Pearce, who signed with the Bruins earlier in the day, scored his first of the season to make it 6-1 midway through the 3rd period. Humboldt would add a goal from Rhett Gibson shortly after Pearce’s marker, but that would be all for scoring as the Bruins won 6-2. There were plenty of scrums and misconducts handed out in the 3rd period of the game, as Humboldt finished with 102 PIM and Estevan had 61 PIM.
Boston Bilous (29/31) earned the win for Estevan while Rayce Ramsay (19/25) was tagged with the loss, and backup Jace Hunter (4/4) played the last 8:56 of the game for Humboldt. The Bruins’ special teams was a factor again as Estevan went (2/10) on the powerplay and added a shorthanded goal, while Humboldt was (1/11) on the powerplay.
SUNDAY – HUMBOLDT WINS 4-2
The 1st period on Sunday was almost a complete role-reversal from Saturday night, as this time it was Humboldt jumping out to a big 1st period lead. The Broncos scored just 1:17 into the game to go up 1-0 and less than a minute later, the Bruins thought they had tied the game on a deflection by Eric Houk. However, after the referee’s ruled a goal initially, they waved off the goal after discussion and it remained 1-0. Less than a minute after the disallowed goal, Humboldt added to their lead at the 3:01 mark to make it 2-0. Then at the 8:01 mark, the Broncos beat Bilous again to make it 3-0.
Bilous would then be temporarily replaced in net by backup Jackson Miller, an Estevan-born goaltender who plays for the U18AAA Bears. Miller only played in 2:08 of game action but made two saves in his debut before Bilous returned to the net for the remainder of the 1st period.
The Bruins would trim the deficit to 3-1 at the 5:46 mark of the 2nd period, as Brandon Ambrozik would sneak in behind the defence on a breakaway and beat Ramsay glove-side for his 4th of the season. It remained 3-1 after two periods as the Bruins continued to try and come back.
Early in the 3rd period, the Bruins would go down shorthanded but as they have done all season long, it would work out in Estevan’s favour to be a man short. Dayton Deics came in on a 2-on-1 and slid a quick shot five-hole for his first of the season to close the gap to 3-2 for Humboldt at the 5:57 mark. The Bruins earned chances the rest of the period but were unable to beat Ramsay, who made a few high-quality saves in tight. Perkins would score into the empty-net with only seconds remaining to close out the scoring in a 4-2 Humboldt win.
Boston Bilous (18/21) settled in after the 1st period but would still be tagged with the loss for the Bruins. Rayce Ramsay (33/35) bounced back for Humboldt in earning the win. Neither team would score a powerplay goal in the game as Humboldt went (0/5) and the Bruins went (0/4), however the Bruins did earn a shorthanded goal once again and lead the SJHL with 9 shorthanded markers on the season.
After the two games, Humboldt remains the top team in the league with a (15-5-0-0) record after 20 games (30 PTS) and Estevan sits 2nd overall with a (12-4-0-1) record after 17 games (27 PTS).
The Bruins will look to start a new winning streak after having their 6-game win streak snapped as they host the Melville Millionaires (3-8-5-0) at Affinity Place on Tuesday, November 9th at 7:00pm.