The Estevan Bruins continue to roll since the calendar flipped over to 2020, picking up their 5th straight win with a hard-fought 5-3 win over the visiting Melville Millionaires on Friday night.
Randy Cooke earned his first career SJHL victory, making 30 saves on 33 Melville shots as the rookie netminder was solid in between the pipes.
Similar to last week when the Bruins defeated Melville 6-1, the two teams skated to a scoreless opening period with the Bruins slightly outshooting Melville 12-9.
The Bruins would open the scoring at the 9:07 mark of the 2nd period as rookie defenceman Dayton Deics scores his 2nd goal of the season to make it 1-0. Griffin Asham-Moroz and Eddie Gallagher assisted on the goal.
However, Melville would strike back with two quick goals to take the lead. Blake Campbell beat Cooke to make it 1-1 at the 12:34 mark then less than two minutes later, captain Aidan Steinke scored to give Melville a 2-1 lead.
Late in the period, the Bruins would earn an extended 5-on-3 powerplay. While they were unsuccessful 5-on-3, they would convert late in the powerplay at the 19:34 mark as rookie forward Tyler Savage blasted his 8th of the season home to tie the game at 2-2 after two periods. Asham-Moroz and Troy Hamilton assisted on the goal.
The Bruins would retake the lead early in the 3rd period and add to it a short time later. At the 2:50 mark, rookie forward Brady Nicholas tallied his 7th goal of the year to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. Kersey Reich and Tylor Ludwar assisted on the goal.
Then at 6:37, Melville goalie Berk Berkeliev kicked out a rebound out front of a shot by Asham-Moroz. Eddie Gallagher neatly kicked the loose puck to his stick and backhanded home his 8th of the season to put the Bruins ahead 4-2. Mason Strutt also assisted on the goal.
Melville would close the gap to 4-3 at the 16:20 mark on a controversial goal. The puck was directed towards the Bruins crease and Cooke quickly went to cover the puck. As the whistle blew, Melville’s Zach McIntyre poked at the puck in Cooke’s glove and put it across the goal line. After a short deliberation, the officials awarded the Millionaires the goal and it was a one-goal game with only minutes remaining.
But Melville’s late push would not be enough, as Estevan’s Isaiah Thomas had multiple long distance shots at the empty net in the final minute and finally hit the empty net with 7 seconds remaining. Thomas’ 12th of the year rounded out the scoring in a 5-3 Bruins victory, as Jayden Davis and Tanner Manz assisted on the final goal.
Randy Cooke (30/33) was solid for the Bruins, making his first start in Estevan’s last 10 games. Berk Berkeliev (38/42) was tagged with the loss for Melville.
Estevan’s powerplay (1/5) was successful in the game, while Melville (0/4) was shut out on the man advantage.
The Bruins (18-17-2-1) look to continue their hot streak on Saturday night as they host the Viterra division-leading Yorkton Terriers (25-18-1-1) with puck drop at 7:30pm at Affinity Place.