The Estevan Bruins travelled to northwest Saskatchewan for the first time this season and started off a mini two-game road swing on a positive note with a gutsy 4-1 victory over the Battlefords North Stars on Tuesday night.
Battlefords opened the scoring late in the 1st period as Jordan Grill’s point shot got past Bruins’ netminder Boston Bilous to give the North Stars a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Bruins answered back in the middle frame during the powerplay, with Bilous getting in on the action. Battlefords dumped the puck in to the right of Bilous’ net and the goaltender, who plays the puck often and very well, got out of his net and fired a perfect stretch pass to the far blueline for Mark Rumsey. Rumsey received the pass in stride, turned up ice, and sniped a shot on the low-blocker side past Battlefords’ goaltender Ulrik Roussel to tie the game at 1-1 after two periods.
With the game still tied early in the 3rd period, Bruins’ defenceman Kian Calder (who was recently named SJHL Defenceman of the Week) would get into a tussle along the boards with North Stars forward Ethan Scriven and the two would drop the mitts. Less than two minutes after that fight, the Bruins would take their first lead of the game.
Olivier Pouliot would pick up the loose puck behind his own net and race up the ice, dodging stick checks through the neutral zone and skating all the way down the right wing deep into the Battlefords zone. Pouliot then found Rumsey with a quick pass in the high slot and Rumsey used his quick release to fire his 2nd goal of the game and 7th of the season past Roussel to put the Bruins’ ahead 2-1 at the 9:54 mark. Dayton Deics also assisted on the go-ahead goal.
Then with less than three minutes to play, the Bruins’ got an insurance goal while on a late powerplay. Deics found Rumsey behind the net and Rumsey fed Pouliot with a quick pass at the hash marks, as he fired home his 4th of the season at the 17:32 mark to put the Bruins up 3-1 late in the game.
Battlefords would pull the goalie late to try and come back, but at the 19:13 mark Cody Davis forced a turnover at the blueline and Mikol Sartor grabbed the loose puck and shot it into the open net for his 4th of the season to round out the scoring in a 4-1 victory for the Estevan Bruins.
Boston Bilous continued his stellar play in net for the Bruins, stopping (33/34) shots and getting his first assist of the season in the win. Ulrik Roussel (33/36) was tagged with the loss for Battlefords.
The Bruins’ special teams play remained strong and was the difference in the game. The Bruins went (2/4) on the powerplay with Estevan now sitting 2nd overall in powerplay percentage, converting on 22.8% of opportunities (Flin Flon is 1st at 23.9%). The Bruins also held Battlefords scoreless (0/2) on their powerplay chances, as Estevan is currently 1st overall in penalty kill percentage with an 87.5% success rate and has also added a league-high 5 shorthanded goals.
The Bruins (8-3-0-1) will stay up north for one more game as they will face the Kindersley Klippers (6-7-0-0) for the first time this season on Wednesday night at 7:30pm.