The CanElson Drilling Estevan Bruins opened their pivotal six-game homestand by winning two of the first three games.
Estevan scored a season-high six goals in a 6-4 win over the Flin Flon Bombers in the opening game of the homestand on January 25. But the following night, they dropped a 4-1 decision against the Flin Flon Bombers.
Cole Olson scored twice and Taylor Reich also had a goal in a two-and-a-half-minute span of the first period to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead over Flin Flon.
The Bombers chipped away at the lead and managed to tie the game early in the second. But Matt Brykaliuk and Hudson Morrison scored 46 seconds apart in the middle frame to give Estevan a 5-3 lead.
The Bombers would get one more before the second period was finished.
Brykaliuk finished off the scoring with his second of the game early in the third.
Alex Cote had the lone goal for the Bruins against the Battlefords.
The Bruins responded with a 5-3 victory over the Notre Dame Hounds on January 29. Forward Calder Neufeld returned to the line-up for the Bruins, and assisted on the Bruins’ second goal – a power play goal by Dylan Smith.
Tanner Froese scored twice for the Bruins. Darcy DeRoose and Alex Cote also had goals.
Neufeld has played only 10 games this year due to a tendon injury. His most recent game action came in early December.
“Sitting out’s always tough, and there isn’t much I can do about it,” Neufeld said. “I just have to sit back and be patient.”
After the game, he said the tendon was feeling all right.
“It’s been a really slow process,” said Neufeld. “We’re trying to work it to get me back healthy for the end of the season.”
Neufeld was used primarily as a point-man on the power play. He doesn't know when he'll be able to play five-on-five again.
Head coach/GM Keith Cassidy said it was nice to have Neufeld back in the line-up.
“When he was working the power play and keeping things simple, it was good,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said he was pleased with his team’s effort for most of the game against the Hounds. The Bruins led 2-1 after the first period, and 4-1 after two, but a lull in the third period allowed Notre Dame to score twice, and make the score 4-3.
“After the third (Notre Dame) goal, we really started to get some panic in our game,” said Cassidy. “We just finished talking about that. We think we can be better. But there’s a lot of good things to take from that game.”
Curtis Martinu was in goal for all three games.
Estevan (16-24-3) has 35 points. They remain in fifth place in the Sherwood Conference, two points behind fourth place Kindersley Klippers. The Bruins have a game in hand.
They’re six points up on the sixth place Weyburn Red Wings.
The Bruins will host the Melfort Mustangs on February 2, the Yorkton Terriers on February 5 and the Nipawin Hawks on February 9 to close out the home stand. All games start at 7:30 p.m.
In other Bruin news, the club has revealed the jerseys for a fundraiser for Estevan's new full-sized outdoor arena in the Hillside Kinsmen playpark. The multi-coloured jersey has a rink with hockey sticks, a net and a snow shovel. Snow, trees and a blue sky are in the background.
It also has the logos for the Kinsmen and Kinettes Clubs. The Kin clubs are among the partners for the outdoor rink.
Most of the jerseys will be auctioned during a silent auction that will be happening at Bruin games and on-line. But there will also be a live auction during the intermissions of the game February 22 when the Bruins host the Weyburn Red Wings. The jerseys of captain Connor Milligan, the alternate captains, local Bruin players and fan favourites will be sold in the live auction.