The Estevan Bruins remained perfect against their Highway 39 rivals from Weyburn so far this year after edging out the Red Wings 3-2 at Crescent Point Place on Saturday night.
Just one night after the Bruins rolled to an 8-0 victory at home, the two teams met again in a game that was notably less tumultuous than Friday night’s battle that saw the two teams combine for 160 PIM. On Saturday, there were only 7 total penalties for a combined 14 PIM.
The scoring took a while to get started on Saturday as neither team could find the back of the net in the opening period. In the 2nd period, the Bruins began to take the game over by outshooting Weyburn 11-4 and scoring the first two goals of the game.
First it would be Eric Pearce coming down the right wing on a rush and snapping his 3rd goal of the season past the blocker of Weyburn’s Dazza Mitchel to make it 1-0 just 1:40 into the 2nd period. Eric Houk and Cody Davis assisted on the goal. Then at the 12:18 mark, Nolan Jones would block a shot in his own end and then bat the puck out of midair into the neutral zone where it was picked up by Mark Rumsey. Rumsey crossed the blue line 1-on-1, cut hard back across the slot and fired his 16th goal of the year past Mitchell to make it 2-0 for the Bruins.
Before the end of the period however, Weyburn would get one back by scoring the first shorthanded goal against the Bruins all season. At 15:53 with the Bruins’ on the powerplay, a pass for Mikol Sartor at the blueline hopped over Sartor’s stick and Nik Sombrowski beat Sartor to the loose puck. Sombrowski broke in all alone on Bruins’ goaltender Cam Hrdlicka and beat him with a shot to cut the Bruins’ lead to 2-1 after two periods.
Weyburn would tie the game early in the 3rd period after back-to-back early penalties put the Bruins’ down 5-on-3. Just as the first penalty expired, Jones attempted to clear the puck but it was knocked down at the blueline by Graham Skinner who passed the puck to Braden Birnie for the one-timer that beat Hrdlicka and tied the game at 2-2 at the 3:09 mark.
However, the Bruins would regain their lead minutes later thanks once again to Mark Rumsey. In their own zone, Dayton Deics sprawled out to poke the puck loose for Olivier Pouliot who dished it to Rumsey. Rumsey led a 3-on-2 rush across the line and after his pass for Pouliot was deflected back to himself, Rumsey snapped home his SJHL-leading 17th of the year and second goal of the game to make it 3-2 at the 7:21 mark.
To their credit, Weyburn put the pressure on the Bruins in the final ten minutes of the game looking for the tying goal. But the defence and goaltending from Hrdlicka shut the door and Estevan held on for a 3-2 victory.
Cam Hrdlicka (25/27) earned the win in making his first start since October 31st, and improved his personal record to 4-1 on the season. Dazza Mitchell (27/30) was tagged with the loss for Weyburn. The Bruins (0/2) were shut out on the powerplay and allowed a shorthanded goal, while Weyburn went (1/3) on the man advantage.
The Bruins (15-4-0-1) remain 2nd overall in the SJHL standings after the weekend and will have the week off before travelling up to Flin Flon (14-6-0-0) for a pair of weekend games in the Whitney Forum against the Bombers.