The Estevan Bruins couldn’t have asked for a more complete team effort to close out the 2019 calendar year, with seven different players scoring en route to a dominating 7-1 victory on the road over the Weyburn Red Wings on Monday night.
It was the first game following the Christmas break for both teams and the first half of the annual New Years’ home-and-home series between the Highway 39 rivals. Entering the game, Weyburn had won three of the first four meetings this season but both teams entered play tied with 29 points on the season.
The first ten minutes felt like a feeling-out process for both teams after the extended holiday break, but the Bruins would begin to take control as the period wound down. In the final minutes, Tylor Ludwar received a pass at the blueline and hammered home his first goal of the season to put the Bruins up 1-0 at the 17:27 mark. Isaiah Thomas made the perfect cross ice pass, while Jayden Davis also assisted on the goal. Entering the first intermission, the Bruins were outshooting Weyburn 13-3.
Estevan would continue to pour on the pressure early in the 2nd period, extending their lead with a pair of early goals.
First, it would be Tyler Savage setting up Griffin Asham-Moroz on a 2-on-1 at the 4:13 mark. The first shot would be saved nicely by Weyburn’s Joseph Young, but Asham-Moroz would use great hand-eye coordination and bat the puck out of midair into the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season. Erik Boers also assisted on the goal, his first SJHL point with the Bruins.
Just minutes later at 6:54, the Bruins did a great job pursuing the puck off the offensive zone faceoff and forced a turnover along the half-boards. Boers would center the puck into the slot for Tyson Manz, who wasted no time ripping a quick shot past Young for the veteran forward’s first goal of the season to give Estevan a 3-0 lead. Caleb Petrie also assisted on the goal.
Then a scary moment for Weyburn as a few minutes later with Estevan on the powerplay, Young jarred his right leg while moving around traffic in front of the net and went down in pain. The officials quickly blew the play down and Young would have to leave the game, bringing in Weyburn’s Noah Decottignies in net for the rest of the game.
The Red Wings would break Keenan Rancier’s shutout bid at the 14:59 mark of the 2nd period as Daytona Houle went end-to-end during Weyburn’s first powerplay to make the score 3-1 after two periods. The shot clock read 32-12 heading into the 3rd period.
Early in the final frame, Rancier would make three separate big-time saves to keep the score at 3-1 as Weyburn pushed hard to get back into the game. Those saves would turn out crucial, as the Bruins’ offence woke up once again and they would put the game away with authority.
First at the 8:19 mark, the puck would find it’s way to Cody Davis off a scramble play in front of the Weyburn net. Davis’ shot went under the pad of Decottignies near the goal line, and then Decottignies would swing his pads into the net as he was unsure where the puck was. The official was right on top of the play and made the goal signal as the Bruins’ went up 4-1. Eddie Gallagher and Savage assisted on Cody Davis’ 4th goal of the year.
The Bruins would then strike on the powerplay at the 10:00 mark, as the puck would find it’s way over to Jayden Davis at the top of the circle and the Bruins’ captain ripped a shot off the waterbottle for his 11th goal of the season. Devan Harrison and Thomas assisted on the 5-1 goal.
Just two minutes later at the 12:00 mark, Ludwar stepped into another shot from the boards which would be deflected by Petrie on its’ way into the back of the net for Petrie’s 2nd goal of the season to make it 6-1. Troy Hamilton also assisted on the goal.
On his next shift, Hamilton would get into a scuffle with Weyburn’s Connor Karo. After Hamilton laid a clean hit on Karo, the Red Wing defender would blatantly spear Hamilton which would lead to a 4-minute penalty. But Hamilton decided to take matters into his own hands as well, with the two players dropping the gloves for a very quick fight that saw Hamilton throw Karo to the ice before the two were broken apart.
During the powerplay, Gallagher would find the back of the net for his third goal in the last two games and 6th of the season to round out the scoring at 7-1 for the Bruins. Cody Davis and Kade McMillen also assisted on the goal at the 15:39 mark. There would be no extra scrums the rest of the game, as the two teams will meet again in less than 48 hours back in Estevan.
Keenan Rancier (19/20) was near-perfect in the game for Estevan in goal, facing his lowest amount of shots in any start this season. Joseph Young (21/24) would be tagged with the loss, allowing three goals before leaving with injury. Noah Decottignies (15/19) allowed four goals in 29:27 of relief in net.
The Bruins finished (2/5) on the powerplay, converting on opportunities late in the game. Weyburn was (1/4) on the man advantage.
The two teams meet again in an afternoon game to ring in 2020 back in Estevan. Puck drop is at 3:00pm on Wednesday, January 1st at Affinity Place.