Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Bruins Win 3-2 In Double-OT; Force Game 6 In Humboldt


In a game that took 4 hours and 21 minutes to play and ended just minutes before midnight, Tanner Manz backhanded home the game-winning goal just 1:43 into the second overtime period to vault the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Humboldt Broncos in Game 5 of their SJHL quarterfinal series.

The Bruins stave off elimination in the win and now trail the Best-of-7 series (3-2) with Game 6 scheduled for 3:00pm on Sunday, March 24th in Humboldt.

In front of the largest crowd in the SJHL this season, the Bruins were looking to use home-ice advantage to stay alive in the series after dropping three of the first four games to Humboldt.

However, it would be the Broncos riding the momentum built after two straight wins in Humboldt in jumping out to an early lead in Game 5.

At the 8:33 mark of the 1st period, Humboldt’s Logan Foster took a shot that Bruins goaltender Grant Boldt stopped initially but bounced off his blocker, over his head and into the net to make it 1-0. Just moments before the goal, Jayden Davis and Jake Heerspink collided in the corner of the offensive zone with Davis sustaining an injury on the play that would knock him out of the rest of the game.

The Broncos added to their lead before the intermission, with Owen Guenter scoring at the 12:48 mark to make it 2-0 Humboldt after 20 minutes.

The two teams would skate to a scoreless 2nd period, with Humboldt continuing to maintain control of the game outshooting the Bruins 24-17 after two periods.

With their season on the line, the Bruins would come out of the gate flying to start the 3rd period. Just 21 seconds into the period, Bruins forward Turner Ripplinger would beat Rayce Ramsay with his first goal of the series to get the Bruins on the board trailing 2-1. Will Koop and Devan Harrison assisted on the goal.

Then an extended delay at the 17:30 mark would pause the game for approximately 45 minutes, as a deep gouge in the ice near the slot area of the Bruins defensive end would need to be repaired. After the referees, league officials and both team coaches approved of the repairs, play would resume.

Both teams would push for the all-important next goal with plenty of quality opportunities, but both Boldt and Ramsay would hold the fort until the dying minutes of the game.

Then at 16:55, Broncos forward Bryson Cecconi would chase Johnny Witzke behind the Bruins net and fall to the ice. Cecconi’s stick would trip up Witzke and the Bruins would head to the powerplay with just over three minutes remaining in the game.

And at the most critical point in the season, the Bruins veteran players would deliver. Good puck movement on the powerplay would result in TJ Irey feeding a pass to the blueline for Jake Heerspink. Heerspink would let a quick slapshot go which found it’s way through three players and past a screened Ramsay for the tying goal at the 17:19 mark of the 3rd period, for Heerspink’s 3rd goal of the series making it 2-2.

Neither team would find the go-ahead goal before the buzzer and a potential elimination game would head to overtime.

In the first 20-minute overtime frame, Humboldt would get a couple of early high-quality scoring chances but would be denied by Boldt. For the majority of the period, the Bruins would control the play and get the scoring chances with a couple of near-misses and a few big saves by Ramsay.

Neither team could score again and the game would extend to a second 20-minute overtime period. However, only 1:43 of the 5th period would be necessary.

The Bruins would break out of their own zone with a pass to Tristyn Deroose fresh off a line change in the neutral zone. Deroose carried the puck into the offensive zone and drew two Humboldt defenders towards him before dropping the puck for Tanner Manz. Manz made a move to his backhand in the slot and fired a hard backhand through the legs of the Broncos defenceman and surprised Ramsay beating him blocker-side.

The puck hit the back of the net and the raucous crowd at Affinity Place went into a frenzy as the Bruins streamed off the bench to mob Manz in celebration of their 3-2 victory.

Grant Boldt (42/44) settled in after the 1st period and didn’t allow a goal for the final 69 minutes of the game. Rayce Ramsay (47/50) was once again the best player for the Broncos, albeit in a losing effort.

The Bruins (1/3) made their powerplay count when needed most, executing on the game-tying goal, while Humboldt (0/2) was shut down on the man advantage.

The diehard Bruins fans in Estevan showed up with the biggest crowd of the SJHL season at 2,178. The Certified Energy Services 50/50 jackpot finished at $13,120, and was claimed by an Estevan resident.

The series shifts to Humboldt for Game 6, scheduled for 3:00pm at the Elgar Petersen Arena. If the Bruins win, Game 7 is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26th at 7:30 in Estevan.

Jake Heerspink Celebrates Moments After Scoring The Game-Tying Goal With Only 2:41 Left In Regulation. (Photo: Durr Photography)

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