The Estevan Bruins have forced a Game 7 in their SJHL Quarterfinal series against the Flin Flon Bombers, largely due to the incredible play of goaltender Cam Hrdlicka.
After losing the first two games of the series, Hrdlicka and the Bruins rattled off three straight wins last week before dropping Game 6 on Sunday. With a (3-1) record, .962 SV%, 1.52 G.A.A., and 1 shutout, Cam Hrdlicka has been named both the SJHL ‘MVP of the Week’ and the SJHL ‘Goalie of the Week’. It’s the first time all season a goaltender has won both weekly awards.
The Bruins were down (2-0) as the series shifted back to Estevan and entering the 3rd period of Game 3, the Bruins trailed 3-1 on the scoreboard to Flin Flon. From the 17:16 mark of the 2nd period of Game 3 until the 1:09 mark of the 2nd period of Game 6, Hrdlicka only allowed 1 goal in 199:51 of playing time.
During that span, the Bruins came back to beat Flin Flon 4-3 in OT in Game 3. Then Hrdlicka posted a 35-save shutout in a 3-0 win in Game 4. And on Friday at the Whitney Forum, Hrdlicka made an incomprehensible 66 saves in a 2-1 OT win in Game 5 to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead in the series. In Game 6, Hrdlicka gave up three goals in the first 12:12 of the 2nd period. But otherwise was perfect making an impressive 42 saves in a 4-1 loss.
In the first 6 games against Flin Flon, Hrdlicka has posted a .941 SV% which is tops amongst all goaltenders excluding Humboldt’s Ben Motew (.948) who has only appeared in 2 games. Hrdlicka is also the only goalie with a playoff shutout this year along with Battlefords’ Josh Kotai.
Lastly, after six games Cam Hrdlicka has faced 270 shots from the Bombers, an average of 45 shots per game. Hrdlicka is on pace to be the only goaltender in SJHL history to face more than 300 shots in an playoff series since statistics became available in 2005.
This is the 4th SJHL ‘Goalie of the Week’ award this season for Cam Hrdlicka, and the 1st SJHL ‘MVP of the Week’ award. Additionally, Hrdlicka was named as the Estevan Bruins ‘MVP’ at the team’s awards banquet earlier this month.
With Game 7 at the Whitney Forum set for Tuesday night, Cam Hrdlicka will have to summon another great performance in net in order for the Bruins to complete the upset over the Bombers and send the Bruins to the semi-final against Battlefords. But regardless of how Game 7 goes, Estevan Bruins’ fans have already witnessed one of the greatest goaltending playoff showcases in the team’s 65-year history.