Fresh off their most successful northern road trip in nearly a decade, the Estevan Bruins continued to thrive with a 3-2 overtime win over the Yorkton Terriers on October 29 at Spectra Place.
Austin Daae scored on a power play midway through the extra frame to lift the team to their fourth straight victory. The win came four days after the Bruins returned home from a perfect 3-0 northern jaunt that saw them win games in Nipawin, Melfort and Flin Flon.
The win over Yorkton was also the Bruins' first win in five home games this year.
“Once that overtime goal went in, I think you saw 24 monkeys (get off the players' backs), walk out of that room, go up the stairs and out of the rink,” said assistant coach Aren Miller. “I don't think it was weighing on the guys, but in the back of their minds, it had to be hard on them, because they've been so great on the road.”
All four goals in regulation time came in the second period. Lynnden Pastachak and RT Rice had the Bruin goals.
Estevan outshot Yorkton 16-7 in the second period.
The third period was scoreless, so the game went to overtime.
Yorkton had an early chance to win, but the puck hit the post. Moments later, the Terriers would be called for too many men. The Bruins would hit a post, too, before Daae notched the winner.
“It ended the losing streak at home, and it kept our winning streak going,” said Daae. “The boys are all hungry to keep everything going.”
Matt Gibney stopped 27 shots for the victory.
Defenceman Nick Egan has returned to the Bruins, and played against Yorkton. He had been trying to play semi-pro hockey in the U.S.
“He's a rock back there,” said Miller. “He brings that calming presence. When he's back there with the puck, he takes that extra second, makes that right play, and he's strong with the puck.”
Local product Chase McKersie, who is second in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League in scoring, also played against Yorkton. He didn't look out of place, Miller said, and will likely make more appearances with the Bruins this year.
The road trip saw the Bruins win 6-3 against the Nipawin Hawks on October 22, 4-3 in a shootout over the Melfort Mustangs on October 23 and 2-0 against the Flin Flon Bombers on October 24.
“They battled for each other,” said Miller. “To go into those three barns and win is pretty spectacular.”
Estevan trailed Melfort 2-0 after the first period, but Austin Roesslein and Tanner Froese scored in the second to tie the game. Melfort took a one-goal lead in the third, but Keegan Allison tied the game with seven minutes to play.
Overtime solved nothing, so the game went to a shootout. Pastachak had the shootout winner in the fifth round.
Brett Lewchuk stopped 40 shots in regulation and overtime, and three of the five shootout attempts he faced.
The game against the Bombers was scoreless through two periods, but the Bruins took over in the third. Pastachak scored to give Estevan a 1-0 lead, and Tanner Froese added an empty netter in the final minute.
The Bruins outshot Flin Flin 17-9 in the third period.
Gibney stopped 35 shots for his first SJHL shutout.
“Flin Flon's a tough place to play, and to beat them up there, to hold them off in their own barn in the third period, and to shut them out, was huge,” Daae said.
For his efforts during the road trip, Daae was named the SJHL's Player of the Week for October 21 to 27 with four goals and two assists.
Estevan's record is 7-5-1-1. They'll host the Battlefords North Stars on November 1, and the Kindersley Klippers the following night. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.