The Estevan Bruins delivered their best effort yet in the young SJHL season, but still suffered a 3-2 road loss against the defending SJHL champions, the Yorkton Terriers, on September 28.
Zach Zadorozniak scored less than six minutes into the game to give Yorkton a 1-0 lead, and Chase Norrish upped the lead to 2-0 early in the second.
But defenceman Nolan Nicholas scored his first SJHL goal midway through the second on a power play to cut the lead in half. Then Darcy DeRoose tied the game with a goal midway through the third.
Yorkton's Jordan Ross scored the winner late in the third period.
Matt Gibney stopped 25 shots for Estevan.
"It was a refreshing effort," said head coach/GM Chris Lewgood. "I don't believe in such things as a moral victory, but it was a good effort. I thought we played 60 minutes of pretty consistent hockey, and I thought we were a much better team than we'd been in the previous game (against Melfort)."
The players also did a better job of sticking with the game plan, he said.
"I think our guys are getting close to our potential for this time of year, and if we keep doing that, then that potential just grows and grows," said Lewgood.
Estevan's next three games are also on the road. They'll visit the La Ronge Ice Wolves on October 4, the Nipawin Hawks on October 5 and the Humboldt Broncos on October 6. Then they are off for the next 10 days.
Several Bruin players were on the ice for the SJHL Showcase scrimmages in Warman on September 30 and October 1.
Gibney and forwards Tanner Froese and Cory Kosloski skated in the games for 1993-born players. Forward Hudson Morrison and defenceman David Robertson played on the 1994 squads.
Forward Keegan Allison, along with defencemen Nicholas and Zach Douglas, were on the 1995/1996 teams.
Two other players – 1995 goalie Brett Lewchuk and 1996 forward Lynnden Pastachak – were invited to play, but had to sit out due to injury.
Lewgood said everybody who went to Showcase acquitted themselves well. He noted that Nicholas received a lot of attention, while Gibney only enhanced his reputation with his performance.
Froese was named the SJHL's player of the week for the opening week of the season. Froese was in on the Bruins first six goals of the season, and he led the league in scoring through the first week-and-a-half with eight points in four games.
In off-ice news, the Bruins have dealt third-year forward Taylor Reich to the Battlefords North Stars for future considerations. Lewgood said they hadn't immediately decided whether the futures will be cash or a player.
Reich was a stand-out two years ago in his rookie campaign, as he had 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 49 games. He was among the league leaders in short-handed goals, too.
But his production slipped last year, and he finished with just five goals and 11 points in 48 games.
He wasn't chosen to be a captain or an alternate captain this year, even though he was an alternate for a chunk of last season. That led to speculation that Reich wasn't happy with his role in Estevan. Lewgood diffused the speculation.
"You hear all sorts of rumours, but he never spoke up to me about that," said Lewgood.
Lewgood said Reich has done a lot of good things for the Bruins on the ice, and he represented the club well off the ice.
Lewgood said they're now trying to acquire a defensive centre to replace Reich.