Good vibes are surrounding the Estevan Bruins, starting with the announcement on Thursday that the city will host the 2022 Centennial Cup, and concluding with back-to-back 3-1 victories at Affinity Place on the weekend.
Looking to head into the Christmas break with some momentum, the Bruins’ used home ice to their advantage with a 3-1 win over Kindersley on Friday before repeating the effort on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Melfort.
FRIDAY – REICH’S LATE GAME-WINNER LIFTS BRUINS PAST KLIPPERS
The scoring started early in the 1st period as rookie forward Griffin Asham-Moroz scored a beauty end-to-end goal at the 9:53 mark to put Estevan up 1-0. Tyson Manz and Tylor Ludwar assisted on Asham-Moroz’s 9th goal of the season.
Following a scoreless 2nd period, Kindersley would tie the game just 1:08 into the 3rd period as Jacob Schnapp scored to make it 1-1. Just minutes later, a scrap would take place at center ice with Bruins’ defenceman Alex Von Sprecken landing two hard right-hooks on Kindersley’s Ben Maxwell in a short-and-sweet tilt.
It remained tied 1-1 into the final minutes when another threatening rush by Asham-Moroz led to the eventual game-winner. Asham-Moroz’s backhand shot went just over the net and bounced around the boards to the point. That’s where Kersey Reich blasted a shot through a screen and off the waterbottle past Kindersley’s Steven Bacovsky for his 3rd of the season to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead at the 13:29 mark.
Just minutes later, Brady Nicholas would convert on a 2-on-1 using Cody Davis as a decoy and sniping a shot short-side for his 5th of the season. Eddie Gallagher and Ludwar assisted on the insurance marker at 17:48 to round out the scoring in a 3-1 victory.
Keenan Rancier (33/34) was near-perfect in net for the Bruins once again, while Steven Bacovsky (29/32) was tagged with the loss for Kindersley. Neither team was successful on the powerplay in limited opportunities, with Estevan (0/2) and Kindersley (0/3).
SATURDAY – RANCIER STYMIES MUSTANGS AS BRUINS KNOCK OFF MELFORT
The box score would look very similar to Friday night on Saturday against Melfort, with the Bruins once again scoring the lone goal of the 1st period. At the 16:40 mark, Tanner Manz tucked home his 10th goal of the season from Jayden Davis and Isaiah Thomas to give Estevan a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. It was a period dominated by Melfort on the shot clock, as the Mustangs outshot the Bruins 15-7 in the opening period.
Once again, neither team would score in the 2nd period as we went to the 3rd period with the Bruins still leading 1-0 and the shots standing at 22-14 for Melfort.
Then 5:07 into the final frame, the Bruins would take a 2-0 lead as Tyler Savage would be sent in alone on a breakaway. Savage finished the play off with a silky-smooth deke around Melfort’s Tanner Martin and roofed the puck for his 7th of the season. Troy Hamilton and Asham-Moroz assisted on the marker.
The Mustangs would battle back, as a point shot from Dylan Ashe would beat Rancier to his glove-side to make it only a 2-1 lead for Estevan at the 9:46 mark. Just a few minutes later however, the Bruins would reclaim their two-goal lead.
On the powerplay, Asham-Moroz and Gallagher would execute a perfect give-and-go down low with Asham-Moroz roofing a shot top corner for his 10th of the season to make it 3-1 Estevan at the 12:50 mark. Kade McMillen would also draw an assist on the goal.
Less than a minute later, the Bruins almost made it 4-1 but a point shot deflected by Cody Davis in front of the net was deemed to be touched with a high stick and was immediately waved off by the officials.
The Bruins continued to pressure until a late penalty gave Melfort a 6-on-4 powerplay advantage. But Rancier and the Bruins’ penalty kill was perfect, keeping the puck out of the net and holding on for a 3-1 victory over the Mustangs.
Keenan Rancier (31/32) was stellar in goal for the Bruins, holding down the fort early in the game and then standing tall under furious pressure at the end of the game. Tanner Martin (20/23) was tagged with the loss for Melfort.
The Bruins finished (2/6) on the powerplay, while keeping the Mustangs off the board on special teams (0/5).
The Bruins (13-15-2-1) currently sit 10th overall in the league standings, only a point behind the Notre Dame Hounds (13-18-3-1) with Estevan holding four games in hand on Notre Dame. The two teams will face each other in a neutral-site game on Monday at the Harry O. Memorial Arena in Midale at 7pm. Though the rink is only 20 minutes away from Estevan, the Bruins will be the visiting team while Notre Dame is the home squad.