The Estevan Bruins came harrowingly close to having their winning streak come to an end on Friday night against the Battlefords North Stars, only to tie the game with four seconds remaining, and then get the game-winning in a shootout in a 3-2 triumph.
The victory extended the winning streak to five games – their longest such tear since January of 2009.
The following night, they controlled most of the final two periods against the Kindersley Klippers, but lost 2-1 in overtime, and that snapped the streak.
The Bruins struggled for much of the game against the North Stars – a team that had lost seven straight prior to the contest. Estevan was down 2-0 a minute into the second period, thanks to goals by Ben Greenaway and Reed Delaney for the Battlefords.
Hudson Morrison scored late in the second to pull the Bruins within a goal.
It appeared the Bruins were on the verge of defeat, but Austin Daae scored with four seconds to play in the third to force extra time.
Nobody scored in overtime or in the first five rounds of the shootout. Tanner Froese gave Estevan the lead in the sixth round of the penalty shot competition, but Austin Evans responded for the Battlefords to send it to another round.
Austin Roesslein then scored for Estevan, and Brett Lewchuk stopped Kyle Schmidt to lift the Bruins to victory.
Lewchuk stopped 42 shots in regulation and overtime, and six of seven Battlefords attempts in the shootout.
He faced 31 shots in the first two periods alone.
The following night, Kindersley's Tristan Sieben scored 44 seconds into the first period to give the Klippers an early 1-0 lead. The score would remain the same until early in the third, when Wyatt Garagan scored on a great individual effort to tie the contest.
Kindersley had an extended two-man advantage in the third, thanks to a couple of questionable penalties, but the efforts of the Bruins' penalty killers and goaltender Matt Gibney kept the Klippers off the scoresheet.
"I thought to put our guys down on an extended five-on-three like that, I was just shocked," head coach/GM Chris Lewgood said of the penalties.
Overtime was needed, and with 67 seconds remaining in the extra frame, Kindersley's Giovanni Bombini had a breakaway, and beat Gibney for the winning goal.
Gibney stopped 24 shots.
Estevan outshot Kindersley 52-26.
"I thought we outplayed them," said Lewgood. "I thought we were the better team tonight. They're a great club. But I think we can skate with anyone in our league, and any given night, win a game."
Lewgood said Kindersley's goalie, Evan Weninger, played well, but the Bruins could have also done a better job of finishing their opportunities.
"We had lots of chances where we could have buried them, and just didn't," said Lewgood.
The Bruins played both games without forward Darcy DeRoose. DeRoose, who had eight goals and 12 points this year, has been called up by the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Lewgood doesn't know when, or if, DeRoose will return to the team.
Estevan's record is 8-5-2-1, which leaves them third in the Viterra Division. They'll visit the Notre Dame Hounds on November 9 and the Weyburn Red Wings on November 11.
In off-ice news, the Bruins have acquired 20-year-old defenceman Tanner Clark from the OCN Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Clark represents the future considerations in the deal that saw the Bruins dispatch Roger Tagoona to the Blizzard last season.
Clark had 12 points in 16 games with OCN. Two years ago, as an 18-year-old, he put up 32 points in 57 games with the Flin Flon Bombers.
"He's an offensive defenceman who can quarterback the power play," said Lewgood.
Lewgood said the process to secure Clark began about a month ago, and they've been haggling with the Blizzard on the wording of the future considerations. Multiple appeals happened before the deal to acquire Clark was finalized.
Clark is the type of player that the Bruins have been looking for on the blue line, Lewgood said, and it helps that Clark played with Gibney and Daae in midget AAA with Moose Jaw.
The Bruins have also dealt 20-year-old defenceman Leighton McLachlin to the Nipawin Hawks for future considerations. McLachlin was held pointless in 12 games this season, and Lewgood said McLachlin was caught in a numbers game due to the Bruins' excess number of 20-year-olds.