PAIR OF 3-GOAL WINS VAULTS BRUINS INTO TIE FOR VITERRA DIVISION LEAD
The Power Dodge Estevan Bruins are once again near the top of the Viterra division after two convincing victories over their Highway 39 rivals.
The Bruins defeated the Weyburn Red Wings 5-2 on the road on Friday and followed that up with a 6-3 victory over the Red Wings at Affinity Place on Saturday night.
Estevan had won two of the first three meetings of the season, however Weyburn took the last game in convincing 6-1 fashion so the Bruins were looking to avenge that loss and continue climbing the standings.
The Bruins got off to a hot start on Friday night, scoring three goals in the first period to jump out to a commanding lead.
Just 41 seconds in, Turner Ripplinger stripped Red Wing goaltender Ben Laidlaw of the puck behind the net. Ripplinger centered it out front for Bryce Platt who quickly set up TJ Irey for his 13th of the year to make it 1-0.
The line would strike again on the powerplay at the 6:56 mark with Ripplinger finishing off a beautiful passing play to make it 2-0 with his 20th goal of the season. Platt and Devan Harrison were credited with the assists.
Then at 16:56 on a 4-on-3 powerplay, Irey and Harrison would set up Will Koop at the side of the net for Koop’s 4th of the season to make it 3-0. Weyburn’s Eric Soar would fire a powerplay point-shot past Estevan’s Kadin Kilpatrick with only two seconds left in the period to make it 3-1 after 20 minutes.
The scoring would continue quickly into the 2nd period. On the opening shift, Platt would finish off another pretty passing play for his 14th of the year just 22 seconds into the frame. Irey and Aigne McGeady-Bruce assisted on the play.
Weyburn would earn another powerplay shortly thereafter, with Soar scoring his second of the game at the 1:24 mark to trim Estevan’s lead to 4-2. That would remain the score going into the final period with the Bruins outshooting Weyburn 29-12 at that point in the game.
Early in the third period, Tristyn Deroose would be issued a 5-minute major for cross-checking during a scrum in front of the Weyburn net. However, it would end up being the Bruins getting the only goal during the extended man advantage for Weyburn.
Michael McChesney would deftly pick off an attempted breakout pass and come in all alone on Laidlaw. Using some slick puck handling and soft hands, McChesney slid home his 20th goal of the year to put the Bruins up 5-2 at the 4:52 mark. Kilpatrick would shut the door the rest of the way and Estevan would leave with a 5-2 victory to open the weekend.
Kilpatrick was solid in goal (20/22) in making only his sixth start of the season and his first start for Estevan since December 12th. Meanwhile, Laidlaw (33/38) would be tagged with the loss for Weyburn.
Estevan finished (2/7) on the powerplay and added McChesney’s shorthanded goal, while Weyburn finished (2/11) on the man advantage. Final shots on goal were 38-22 for Estevan.
SATURDAY NIGHT SWEEP IN ESTEVAN
The two teams would renew hostilities the very next night at Affinity Place in front of one of the largest crowds of the season in Estevan.
The Bruins’ roster would look quite different for this game however. The SJHL would issue two-game suspensions to Austin King-Cunningham, Bryce Platt and Tristyn Deroose following Friday night’s game. Along with Jayden Davis, who had a three-game suspension issued after the game on Saturday, Jan. 12th, the Bruins would be down to 16 eligible skaters. As a result, the Bruins would call up forward Cal Caragata from the Regina Pat Canadians (AAA Midget) for Saturday night’s game.
Once again, the Bruins would jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with another hot start.
At 9:18 on the powerplay, Kade McMillen would sneak in off the point and bang home the loose puck off the edge of the crease to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. McChesney and Johnny Witzke assisted on the goal.
At the 16:40 mark, Isaiah Thomas would deposit his 7th of the year past Weyburn goaltender Cody Levesque to put the Bruins up 2-0. Eddie Gallagher would get the lone assist on the goal.
Before the end of the period, Koop would score his second goal in as many nights as his 5th of the year made it 3-0 after the opening period. Tanner Manz and McGeady-Bruce assisted on the goal.
Weyburn would draw closer and get the only goal of the 2nd period as Rhett Frey beat Kilpatrick at the 7:26 mark to make it 3-1 heading into the final frame with the Bruins outshooting Weyburn 35-16 after two periods.
Early in the 3rd period, the Bruins would extend their lead to 4-1 in a special moment for the team. Ryder Pierson would score his 4th of the season from Gallagher and Jake Heerspink at the 3:38 mark. Earlier in the week, Pierson’s grandfather Bert passed away. On Saturday afternoon, Pierson and his teammates attended the funeral service and following the game, Ryder would describe scoring the goal on this night as a very special moment.
The Bruins would go up 5-1 thanks to Irey’s second goal of the weekend against Weyburn at the 5:28 mark. Thomas and Ripplinger assisted on the goal.
Weyburn would score two late goals (12:19, Connor Pyne) (16:59, Soar) sandwiched around Tyson Manz’s 2nd goal of the year at the 15:56 mark to round out the scoring in a 6-3 victory for the Bruins.
Kilpatrick (26/29) would earn his second straight win in goal for the Bruins, while Levesque (44/50) would get tagged with the loss.
Estevan would finished (1/7) on the powerplay, while Weyburn finished at (1/5) on the man advantage. Final shots on goal would finish at 50-29 for Estevan.
An outstanding crowd of 1,440 were in the stands of Affinity Place of Saturday night, the second largest crowd of the season (1,455 on October 6th vs Humboldt). The Certified Energy Services 50/50 jackpot finished at $8,840.
With the two wins, and a pair of regulation losses on the weekend by the Yorkton Terriers (22-19-1), the Bruins (21-20-2-1) are now tied for top spot in the Viterra division with 45 points. The winner of the division will finish 3rd overall, while the other will likely have to play in the wild-card round in the playoffs.
The Bruins will remain at home for their next two games, hosting the Melfort Mustangs on Friday, Jan. 25th and the Nipawin Hawks on Saturday, Jan. 26th at 7:30pm at Affinity Place.