The CanElson Drilling Estevan Bruins dropped their first two games after the Christmas break.
Estevan lost 4-1 to the Weyburn Red Wings on December 30 at Spectra Place, and 5-4 on January 1 in Weyburn.
Tyler Paslawski had Estevan’s lone goal in the first game against Weyburn – a tally in the first that tied the game at 1-1. Weyburn scored twice in the second and once in the third to pull away.
Weyburn jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the game on January 1, but Estevan scored twice to pull within a goal. The Red Wings re-established the two-goal advantage, but Estevan scored once late in the second, and another early in the third, to tie the game.
The Red Wings scored the game-winning goal with less than a second to play in regulation.
Hudson Morrison scored Estevan’s first two goals. Cole Olson and Nick Weiss had the other goals.
Curtis Martinu was in goal for both losses.
The Bruins played both games without forward Darcy DeRoose. DeRoose has been called up by the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors.
“The initial indication is he’ll be back on January 6,” said head coach/GM Keith Cassidy. “He’s been with them as a specially affiliated player, which means he’s still on our card. If he goes up there and dazzles the coaching staff, they may choose to keep him around.”
The games were the first for Weyburn since they terminated the contract of long-time head coach Dwight McMillan. Weyburn announced on December 26 that McMillan was retiring, but McMillan revealed a few days later that he had been let go. McMillan then asked the executive to announce his departure as a retirement.
“Whenever there’s something like that (a coaching change), it generally grabs the attention of the players, and there’s a little more attention to detail,” said Cassidy. “That being said, we were mentally prepared for that, and ready to go.”
Cassidy tried out for the Red Wings in the early 1990s. He said he feels bad for McMillan, who put so much into the Red Wings’ organization for about 40 years.
“I was there only for a couple days, after I was severely injured in the Western Hockey League,” said Cassidy. “I tried a stop in Weyburn to see if I could still play, and unfortunately I couldn’t do it that year. But I did get to know a little bit about Dwight, and what was going on with the Weyburn Red Wings at that time, and certainly even at that time, his history and his reputation was one of the resons that you wanted to go to the Weyburn Red Wings, and see what it was all about.”
Estevan’s record is 12-19-2. Their 26 points leaves them in the fifth and final playoff spot in the Sherwood Conference, but only two points ahead of Weyburn. Weyburn also has a game in hand.
The Bruins will play a home-and-home with the Melville Millionaires. Melville visits on January 4 at 7:30 p.m. The Bruins will be in Melville on January 5.