The Estevan Bruins have shown flashes of their speed, skill and power at times throughout the season, but all three were on full display for the home fans to see on Friday night at Affinity Place.
Rookie forward Griffin Asham-Moroz had four assists, Austin King-Cunningham scored twice, and captain Jayden Davis scored the likely SJHL ‘Goal-of-the-Year’ (and possibly CJHL Goal-of-the-Year) as the Bruins defeated the Weyburn Red Wings 6-4 for their first win over Weyburn in four tries this season.
The Bruins came into the game riding high after an emotional 5-4 SO win on Tuesday over Notre Dame in a neutral-site game in Southey, home of the Bruins’ Tanner and Tyson Manz. Weyburn also came into action coming off a win, defeating Melville 4-3 on Tuesday.
Though all three meetings before Friday’s game have been one-goal games (2-0 with EN goal, 2-1, 2-1 OT), Weyburn had been victorious in each one. The Bruins came out of the gate determined to end that slide with a great effort in the opening period.
After a Weyburn penalty, Brady Nicholas won the ensuing faceoff to Asham-Moroz who fed the puck to the point. Defenceman Kade McMillen grabbed the puck, walked towards the middle of the blueline and unleashed an absolute rocket past Weyburn’s Noah Decottignies and bardown to put the Bruins ahead 1-0 at the 6:53 mark.
The Bruins extended their lead to 2-0 at the 11:15 mark as Asham-Moroz fed the puck to Troy Hamilton in the neutral zone. Hamilton sped down the wing, shielding the puck from his defenceman and dropped a pass at the hash marks for Cody Davis who sniped a shot off the post and past Decottignies.
Then with 19 seconds left in the period, Dain Sardelli took a pass down low from Asham-Moroz. Sardelli drove towards the net, quickly stick-handled and deked a shot around Decottignies to make it 3-0 Bruins after 20 minutes. Eddie Gallagher also assisted on Sardelli’s second goal in as many games.
The Bruins would draw an early powerplay to start the 2nd period in hopes of adding to their lead, but instead it would be Weyburn started to claw back. Weyburn defenceman Riley Little forced a turnover at the blueline and broke in with Rhett Frey on a 2-on-0, with Little feeding Frey for the one-timer past Estevan’s Keenan Rancier to make it 3-1 at the 1:13 mark.
That remained the score for the majority of the period as the Bruins were unable to respond and then at the 17:57 mark, Weyburn closed the gap again. Just seconds after going to the powerplay, Weyburn’s Daytona Houle fired a seeing-eye-shot through a screened Rancier to make it 3-2.
The Bruins were looking for a spark to get momentum back before the end of the period. And it would come courtesy of an Instant-Classic, All-Time goal from the Bruins’ captain: Jayden Davis.
Rookie defenceman Alex Von Sprecken broke up a chance in front of his own net, with Isaiah Thomas picking up the puck and firing a lead pass to Davis at the center line. Davis came flying down the wing 1-on-1 with Weyburn’s Anthony Chambers. As Davis crossed the blueline, he put the puck between the legs of Chambers who challenged him. Davis snuck around Chambers’ check and retrieved the puck just in front of the crease. Just as Decottignies tried to poke-check the puck away, Davis reached out in front and pulled the puck back, put his stick between his legs, and snapped a perfect shot under the crossbar that left every single fan inside Affinity Place either screaming or speechless.
Davis was mobbed by his teammates as the players on the ice and on the bench were in shock over what just happened, and could be seen staring up at the scoreclock watching the replay. The ovation from the crowd continued until play resumed and the buzz in the crowd carried on until the end of the period with the Bruins leading 4-2. By the end of the intermission, video of Davis’ beauty had already been shared hundreds of times and was picked up on social media by TSN and Sportsnet.
When the 3rd period resumed, and the atmosphere still humming from ‘The Goal’, both teams attempted to refocus with a tight-checking, close game on hand. At the 5:10 mark, Weyburn would close the gap once again as Mathieu Belanger scored to make it 4-3.
Just 30 seconds later however, a dangerous hit would result in the Bruins getting an extended man-advantage. Bruins forward Cody Davis would force a turnover along the boards in Weyburn’s end and as Davis raced to grab the loose puck in the corner, Red Wings’ forward Taylor Schmidt would drive Davis into the boards in a dangerous area. Davis’ head would hit the boards hard and he would stay on the ice as a scrum gathered around him for almost a minute. Davis would get off the ice under his own power and eventual head to the dressing room for repairs, but would return to the bench by the end of the game. The hit resulted in a 5-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for Schmidt, it also resulted in an extended yelling match between the coaches on both benches who were eventually calmed down before play resumed.
On the powerplay, the Bruins would not only control play for the full five minutes, but also get a much-needed goal. At the 7:12 mark, Asham-Moroz passed the puck to McMillen at the point. McMillen fed a one-time pass over for Austin King-Cunningham who ripped a laser beam through a screen and past Decottignies to make it 5-3 Estevan.
That remained the score until the final minutes. Weyburn called a timeout after a Bruins penalty and went on a 6-on-4 powerplay with the extra attacker. The Red Wings kept firing pucks at the net and were stopped by Rancier. But the Bruins were unable to clear the puck or get a stoppage and at the 19:24 mark, Daytona Houle’s scored his second of the game to cut the lead to 5-4 with 36 seconds remaining.
Weyburn was unable to gain the offensive zone and pull their goalie again until the final 10 seconds. That’s when a puck chipped in low would be grabbed first by King-Cunningham, who turned and wristed a shot all the way down the ice and into the open net with five seconds remaining. King-Cunningham’s second of the period closed off the scoring in a wild game with the Bruins victorious over Weyburn 6-4.
Keenan Rancier (20/24) earned the win in net for the Bruins, while Noah Decottignies (36/41) was tagged with the loss for Weyburn.
The Bruins powerplay went (2/6) on the night while Weyburn was successful on (2/3) on the man advantage.
The Bruins (7-9-2-1) will be back at home on Saturday night hosting another division rivals as the Melville Millionaires (5-13-2-2) visit Affinity Place for the first time this season. It will be the last game for Estevan before a 10-day break in the schedule, and the last home game for the Bruins until November 29th.