The Estevan Bruins first northern road trip of the year was a success, as they were able to win two of the three games that they played.
The northern jaunt started with a 2-1 loss in La Ronge against the Ice Wolves on October 4. But Estevan responded with a 5-4 win against the Nipawin Hawks on October 5, and a 5-3 triumph over the Humboldt Broncos on October 6 to close out the jaunt.
Head coach/GM Chris Lewgood was pleased with his team's work ethic in all three games.
"I think the effort was really strong," said Lewgood. "We really played 180 minutes of good hockey, with hard work, and that’s a huge part of those trips. If you bring everything you got, then you give yourself a chance, and that's what we did."
The game against La Ronge had an auspicious start, as the Ice Wolves opened the scoring 15 seconds into the game. But the Bruins recovered, and captain Tanner Froese tied the game early in the second period.
The deadlock remained until late in the third, when La Ronge notched the winning goal.
Matt Gibney made 37 saves in the loss.
Estevan scored three times in the final eight minutes of the third to rally from a 4-2 deficit and defeat Nipawin. Cory Millette, who was assigned to the Bruins by the WHL's Red Deer Rebels on October 4, scored his first with Estevan to make the score 4-3.
Hudson Morrison tied the game with 88 seconds remaining in the third, and Millette capped the unlikely comeback with the winning goal 36 seconds later.
Darcy DeRoose scored once and added two assists, and David Robertson also scored.
Gibney stopped 24 shots in the victory.
DeRoose, Austin Daae and Ben Johnstone scored 2:40 apart late in the third period to blow open a 2-2 tie, and lift the Bruins to the win over Humboldt. DeRoose's goal with five minutes to play in the third period was his second of the game, and it proved to be the game-winning goal.
Corey Kosloski also scored for Estevan.
Brett Lewchuk stopped 40 shots to get the victory.
The road trip marked the Bruin debuts for Millette and another forward, Austin Roesslein.
"Both guys contributed, both on the score sheet and in the little ways, and both guys are going to add some serious depth for our team," said Lewgood.
Millette, an 18-year-old forward from Storthoaks, has spent the last two seasons with Red Deer.
Lewgood said the Bruins knew there was a chance that Millette could be playing junior A hockey this year.
"It would be a surprise to me if he's here long," said Lewgood. "With his experience at the Western League level, and with his ability, I think he'll latch on with another team."
Roesslein, 20, was acquired from the Weyburn Red Wings for future considerations on October 2. Lewgood said that Roesslein adds work ethic and consistency to the line-up.
The Bruins are now in the midst of a 10-day break, as their next game will be Wednesday, October 16 against the Flin Flon Bombers at 7:30 p.m. at Spectra Place.
Rookie defenceman Nolan Nicholas suffered a shoulder injury in La Ronge, and is likely to be out until mid-November. But he's the only player that Lewgood expects will still be injured when the Bruins' break ends.
Forward Lynnden Pastachak has yet to play this year due to injury, and Lewgood expects Pastachak will be ready for the Flin Flon game.
The Bruins have made several off-ice moves. Second-year forward Dayton Picard is awaiting a trade. Forward Dylan Herzberg has been re-assigned to the Pilot Butte Junior B team. And defenceman Carter Melnyk has been demoted to his Junior B team in B.C.
The moves leave the Bruins with 23 players on their roster.