After 65 hard-fought minutes and a playoff-like atmosphere inside Affinity Place, goaltender Grant Boldt stopped all three shooters and Turner Ripplinger scored the only goal in the shootout as the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins edged the Nipawin Hawks 2-1 on Saturday night.
Both teams came into the game riding a hot streak, with the Bruins having won four straight and Nipawin winning their last three games. Saturday also marked the final meeting of the regular season between the two teams, with the home team having won each of the first three matchups.
Each of the first two periods saw both teams get quality scoring chances, but both Estevan’s Grant Boldt and Nipawin’s Declan Hobbs were rock solid in net keeping the game scoreless until the final period.
The Hawks would break the deadlock 3:37 into the 3rd period. After the puck was dumped in by the Bruins net, some confusion between Boldt and the defence resulted in Nipawin gaining control of the puck behind the net. A shot was put on net with the rebound kicked out front and Carson Erhardt slipped a shot through Boldt’s five-hole to put Nipawin up 1-0.
The Bruins would look to answer back with Hobbs continuing to shut the door until the 8:42 mark. Just seconds after a Bruins powerplay expired, a shot by Jake Heerspink would be blocked in front of the net. Bryce Platt gathered up the puck and fed a wide-open Turner Ripplinger at the side of the net who made no mistake for his 21st goal of the year, tying the game at 1-1.
Neither team would be able to beat the goaltenders in regulation and the great game would need extra time to find a winner. In overtime, the Bruins would get a glorious chance to end it as Platt was high-sticked halfway through resulting in a powerplay for the remainder of overtime. But the Bruins’ top scorers were unable to beat Hobbs despite multiple chances and the game would go to a shootout.
Turner Ripplinger would shoot first, and the Bruins forward patiently out-waited Hobbs then beat him with a perfect shot to put Estevan ahead. Eric Sorensen would shoot first for Nipawin, and was denied by the outstretched pads of Boldt.
Neither team would score on their second attempt, as both Estevan’s Michael McChesney and Nipawin’s Josh Lester were denied.
Will Koop would have the chance to score for the victory, but was also denied by Hobbs. That set up Austen Flaman for Nipawin who had to score to keep the game going. But Flaman’s shot would miss far to the right and the Bruins would storm off the bench victorious 2-1 over Nipawin.
Both goaltenders earned a star of the game on Saturday night. Grant Boldt stopped (29/30) for the second straight night, and added three saves in the shootout for Estevan in the win. Meanwhile Declan Hobbs, the SJHL’s top goaltender, stopped (44/45) in a losing effort for Nipawin.
Neither team could capitalize on the powerplay in the game, with Estevan (0/6) and Nipawin (0/5).
Affinity Place saw a crowd of 1,192 enjoy Saturday night’s shootout win, while the Certified Energy Services 50/50 jackpot exceeded $6,700.
The Bruins will now be off until next weekend as they will take their five-game winning streak into yet another home-and-home series against the Weyburn Red Wings. The two teams battle in Weyburn on Friday, Feb. 1st before the rematch on Saturday, Feb. 2nd back at Affinity Place.
Turner Ripplinger Beats Declan Hobbs With The Lone Shootout Goal In Saturday’s 2-1 Victory Over The Nipawin Hawks. (Photo: Durr Photography)