The Estevan Bruins are executing at both ends of the rink over the past four games, but Tuesday night in Yorkton may have been the team’s most complete effort all season long.
Nine different Bruins scored goals while the defence and goaltender Keenan Rancier limited the high-scoring Terriers offence to just one goal as the Bruins dominated in a 9-1 drubbing on the road for the team’s 4th straight victory.
The two teams had split the first four meetings so far this season as the Bruins’ entered the game looking to continue chipping away at Yorkton’s distant 16-point lead in the division.
The first shift of the game would not go the Bruins’ way, but thankfully it was not a predictor of things to come. Yorkton’s top line combined to put the Terriers up 1-0 just 35 seconds into action as Kaedan Taphorn beat Keenan Rancier with a between-the-legs shot.
But the Bruins would respond less than a minute later with a locally born-and-raised rookie defenceman getting his first career SJHL goal. After a Brady Nicholas forecheck jarred the puck loose, Eddie Gallagher fed a pass to Alex Von Sprecken at the blueline. Von Sprecken’s quick shot slipped through the screen and past Yorkton’s Phillipe Bond for the 17-year-old’s first goal of the season that tied the game at 1-1.
After Rancier made a couple more highlight reel saves, the Bruins offence would take over scoring three times in a 5:00 span before the intermission.
First at the 11:49 mark, Tylor Ludwar and Isaiah Thomas executed a pretty give-and-go down low as Ludwar finished for his 3rd of the season to make it 2-1. Jayden Davis also assisted on the goal.
Then at 15:44 while shorthanded, Rancier made a save and the rebound would be slapped down the ice by Kade McMillen. The Terriers miscommunicated on the line change and Tyson Manz skated all the way down the ice, picked up the puck near the goal line, and flipped a quick shot past Bond’s blocker for Manz’s 3rd of the season to put the Bruins up 3-1.
Just 58 seconds later at 16:42, Troy Hamilton picked up a Tyler Savage pass in the neutral zone and sped down the wing. Hamilton went wide then fired a quick shot that surprised Bond and went 5-hole for Hamilton’s 6th goal of the season to make it 4-1. Griffin Asham-Moroz also assisted on the goal as the Bruins’ took a 4-1 lead into the 2nd period.
In the middle frame, the Bruins wouldn’t let up as they added to their lead with two more quick goals.
Just 1:30 into the 2nd period, a Ludwar point shot would be beautifully deflected in front by Asham-Moroz and bounced into the net to make it 5-1. Savage also assisted on the goal.
Bond’s night would come to and end just minutes later as at the 3:30 mark, Cody Davis raced down the left wing and ripped a snapshot past Bond’s blocker to make it 6-1. Dayton Deics assisted on the goal that saw Bond immediately skate off to the bench and be replaced by 16-year-old backup Kael Depape.
However, the Bruins would continue to add on goals before the intermission as Dain Sardelli used his long reach to finish off a perfect wrap-around goal at the 15:00 mark to make it 7-1 after 40 minutes. Ryder Pierson and McMillen assisted on the goal.
Any thoughts of a miracle comeback by Yorkton would be put to bed early in the 3rd period as the Bruins’ scored two more goals to seal the victory.
First at 5:12, Thomas forced a turnover at the Yorkton blueline and fed a perfect pass over to Tanner Manz who snapped home his 12th of the season to make it 8-1. Then just 45 seconds later at 5:57, Brady Nicholas would snipe his 6th of the season top corner to round out the scoring at 9-1. Gallagher and Cody Davis assisted on the goal.
Keenan Rancier (26/27) was his usual stellar self in net, winning his 4th straight game on the heels of being named the SJHL Goalie-of-the-Week. Phillipe Bond (11/17) would be tagged with the loss for Yorkton, with Kael Depape making (24/27) saves in relief.
Neither team was successful on the powerplay with Estevan (0/3) and Yorkton (0/4), however the Bruins did score shorthanded on Tyson Manz’s 1st period goal.
In the last four games, the Bruins have outscored their opposition 27-5. After the win, the Bruins now own a better goal differential (+6) than Yorkton (+4) despite the Terriers earning 8 more wins than Estevan (however, the Bruins have played 7 less games than Yorkton).
The Bruins (17-17-2-1) will look to build on their current 4-game win streak this weekend with a pair of home games. On Friday, the Melville Millionaires visit Affinity Place only six days after the Bruins beat Melville 6-1. Then on Saturday, it’s a rematch between the Bruins and Terriers with puck drop in Estevan at 7:30pm both nights.