A recent run of success for the Estevan Bruins has come to an end, and the club has now lost back-to-back games.
The Bruins defeated the Yorkton Terriers 4-3 in overtime on December 13 in Yorkton, which extended their winning streak to three games. Captain Tanner Froese scored the winning goal with a little more than two minutes to play in overtime.
Yorkton had a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. Brett Boehm, who was acquired from the Flin Flon Bombers earlier in the week, scored in the first to give Yorkton a 1-0 lead, and Kailum Gervais scored Yorkton's second goal in the middle frame.
But goals by Wyatt Garagan in the second and Ben Johnstone in the third tied the game.
Derek Falloon's goal midway through the third restored Yorkton's one-goal advantage, but Johnstone scored his second of the game with 72 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, and set the stage for Froese's heroics.
Matt Gibney made 35 saves in the victory.
"We fell asleep early on," said head coach/GM Lewgood. "We had another tough start that night, and Gibney held us in it, and he made some big saves during the game. I thought it was a good effort in the second and third periods."
It was the sixth and final meeting between the two teams this year. Each team won three times.
Two nights later, Estevan dropped a 4-2 decision against the Melville Millionaires in Melville, which ended the three-game winning streak.
Ironically, the two teams were scoreless in the first two periods. The two teams traded goals twice in the third, but Melville picked up the victory with a pair of late goals.
Nolan Nicholas and Austin Roesslein scored for Estevan.
Gibney stopped 36 shots in the loss.
Tyson Predinchuk, TJ Constant, Kelvin Walz and Lane Harbor had Melville's goals.
"Physically I think we were a little drained, and we were short bodies, and unable to get some affiliates that night," said Lewgood. "To double-shift injured players and tired players is really tough, and it takes a toll."
The Bruins returned to Spectra Place on December 17, and lost 2-1 in a shootout against the La Ronge Ice Wolves. Sebastien Beauregard scored 14 seconds into the game for La Ronge. Tanner Froese tied the game midway through the second period on a Bruins' five-on-three man advantage.
The game would remain tied through the rest of regulation play and overtime. Both teams had opportunities to take the lead, but couldn't convert. The best chances were likely for La Ronge with a couple minutes to play, but Bruin goaltender Casey Parker, who was making his Bruin debut, made a couple of sterling saves.
The game went to a shootout, and after the first three Bruin shooters and the first two Ice Wolves were unsuccessful, former Bruin defenceman Tanner Clark scored the winner, after nearly stopping and sending ice in Parker's direction.
"It was a subpar effort," said Lewgood. "We didn't deserve to be in overtime. If it wasn't for Parker, we would have been out of it a lot earlier."
Parker stopped 39 shots for the Bruins.
"There was a tough break early on (when La Ronge scored)," said Lewgood. "Casey proved tonight that he can play, and we knew that all along. He played well. He was our best player tonight."
Several regulars were out of the line-up: forwards Lynnden Pastachak and Wyatt Garagan, defencemen Nick Egan and Brett Blatz, and goaltender Brett Lewchuk. Egan (personal) is the only one who wasn't injured.
None of the injured players will be back before Christmas. Lewgood said he hopes that all will be back following the break.
Estevan's record is 14-13-2-3, which leaves them with 33 points. They'll play their final game before Christmas on December 20, when they host the Notre Dame Hounds. The game will start at 7:30 p.m.
Their first games after the break will be a home-and-home against the Weyburn Red Wings. They'll visit Weyburn on December 30, and then host the Red Wings on New Year's Day at 3 p.m.