The Estevan Bruins' offence appears to have found some life, and that has yielded back-to-back wins for the club.
The Bruins defeated the Yorkton Terriers 4-3 on December 10 at Spectra Place for their second straight victory. The win came a few days after a northern road trip that saw Estevan lose 4-2 to the Melfort Mustangs on December 6, but respond with a 5-2 win over the Flin Flon Bombers the following night.
The Bruins jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against Yorkton, as Austin Daae and Austin Roesslein scored in the opening five minutes of the game.
"We talked to the guys before the game about having respect for the opponent, but not too much respect, remembering that they're capable of being a dangerous team," said head coach/GM Chris Lewgood. "If we go out there and play our game, we can compete with them."
A strong forecheck and consistent physical play in the first set the tone for the night, Lewgood said.
The two teams traded goals the rest of the night. Yorkton would cut the lead to one on three separate occasions, but never tied the game. Estevan restored the two-goal lead a couple times, but never had a three-goal advantage.
Jason Duret and Tanner Froese also scored for Estevan.
Goaltender Matt Gibney made 32 saves.
The Bruins played with just five defencemen against Yorkton, as blue-liners Brett Blatz and Nolan Nicholas were sidelined due to injury.
"It wasn't always pretty with those guys tonight, but they played hard, and their effort was there," said Lewgood. "Sometimes we'd probably want a redo on some of the plays we made with some of our defenceman, but good teams find a way."
Lewgood isn't certain if Blatz and Nicholas would be back for upcoming games in east-central Saskatchewan.
Forward Lynnden Pastachak and goaltender Brett Lewchuk also remain sidelined.
The road trip saw the Bruins give up two goals in the third period against Melfort, and lose the game. Keaton Longpre had his first SJHL goal, and Daae also scored.
The game against Melfort was the first since the Mustangs fired head coach/GM Gavin Holcomb, and replaced him with Trevor Blevins.
"I thought in Melfort we left too much in the tank, and we just didn't rise to the occasion," said Lewgood. "We played an okay game."
Duret and Daae each had a goal and two assists against Flin Flon. Froese, Roesslein and Wyatt Garagan also scored.
"We did everything the right way," said Lewgood. "We did our jobs and worked hard and put pucks on the net, and followed the game plan to a 'T.'"
Gibney played both games up north. He stopped 24 shots against Melfort, and was listed as having faced 50 shots in Flin Flon. Lewgood said the shots tally against Flin Flon was exaggerated.
"Gibney probably would have been the first star (against Flin Flon), but there's no way … it was even close to 50 shots," Lewgood said.
Estevan has 30 points, thanks to a 13-12-2-2 record. They comfortably sit third in the Sherwood Conference, eight points behind second place Melville, and seven ahead of fourth place Weyburn.
The Bruins will visit Yorkton on December 13 in the final meeting of the year between the two teams, and they'll be in Melville on December 15. Then the La Ronge Ice Wolves will visit the Bruins on December 17 at 7:30 p.m.