Back-to-Back wins to close off a six-game homestand…just the way the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins wanted to head into a four-game northern road swing.
The Bruins packed both a scoring punch, and in Jayden Davis’ case multiple literal punches, in their Saturday night contest against the Nipawin Hawks. In the first meeting of the season between last year’s Canalta Cup finalists, the Bruins played a solid 60 minutes and got stellar goaltending en route to a 4-1 win at Affinity Place.
It was a whirlwind day for the team as just hours before the opening faceoff, the Bruins announced they acquired 1998-born forward Will Koop from the Steinbach Pistons to give their offence another boost in time for the matchup. And that move paid immediate dividends for the black-and-gold.
The Bruins opened the scoring just 4:37 into the 1st period as Koop set up Bryce Platt to give Estevan an early 1-0 lead. Johnny Witzke also assisted on the play.
Just minutes later at the 8:08 mark, Platt would return the favour setting up Koop for his first goal as a Bruin to make it 2-0 early for the home squad. Isaiah Thomas added a helper on the play.
Before the end of the period, the Bruins would strike on the powerplay as Witzke fired the puck past Hawks’ netminder Declan Hobbs for a 3-0 lead after the opening period. TJ Irey and Michael McChesney (playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension) assisted on Witzke’s team-leading 4th powerplay goal of the year.
There would be no scoring in the 2nd period, but there would be some fireworks. After a dangerous check-from-behind by Nipawin forward Arik Breton on Estevan’s Turner Ripplinger, Bruins forward Jayden Davis stood up for his linemate. Both Davis and Breton dropped the gloves, with Davis landing 6-8 solid blows on Breton before the two players fell to the ice and were ejected from the game.
The 3-0 lead for Estevan carried on into the 3rd period, thanks in large part to rookie goaltender Grant Boldt who made his second start in as many nights after a 5-1 win over Melfort on Friday.
Boldt made a number of highlight-reel saves in the final frame to keep Nipawin off the scoreboard, including a stunning post-to-post pad save on a Hawks 2-on-1 halfway through the period.
The Hawks would spoil Boldt’s shutout bid at the 12:39 mark, capitalizing on a 5-on-3 powerplay when Jordan Simoneau scored to make it 3-1. Nipawin would try to cut into the deficit in the final minutes, but were unable to beat Boldt again.
The Bruins’ capped off the scoring with just 48 seconds remaining as Ripplinger finished off a beautiful passing play from McChesney and Platt to make the final score 4-1 for Estevan.
Boldt (33/34) one-uped his Friday night performance, earning the game’s 1st star and getting his second straight win. Hobbs (35/38) was tagged with the loss for Nipawin.
Estevan’s powerplay was strong again in the win, going (2/5) on the man advantage. Nipawin finished (1/4) on the powerplay.
Affinity Place was electric on Saturday with 1,233 fans in the building. The 50/50 jackpot went over $4,500.
After a rocky start to the six-game homestand, back-to-back wins have the Bruins (7-7) back to .500 on the season. A rematch with the Hawks in Nipawin kicks off a four-game in five night road trip beginning Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:30pm. Listen to the game on the Southern Plains Co-Op Bruins App on Rock106.
Next home action for the Bruins is Friday/Saturday, November 2nd/3rd against the Battleford North Stars/Kindersley Klippers.
Jayden Davis Feeding Punches To Nipawin’s Arik Breton Midway Through The 2nd Period Of Saturday Night’s Contest.