The Estevan Bruins came within six minutes of winning the first three games of their late season five-game homestand, but instead had to settle for getting five of a possible six points.
Estevan lost 5-4 in a shootout to the Melville Millionaires on January 28. Estevan had a 4-2 lead with six minutes to play, but Melville scored twice in a little more than three minutes to tie the game, and then won the contest in a shootout.
The Bruins enjoyed a strong start to the game, as they dished out some hits and buzzed Melville goaltender Isaiah Plett. But Melville would score first on a goal by Eric Meyer.
Nick Egan's point shot tied the game a few minutes later.
It remained a 1-1 game until midway through the second, when Allan Kilback scored on a short-handed breakaway for Melville. On the same power play, David Robertson's hard point shot evened the game, and Keegan Allison scored before the period was over to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead.
Estevan pressed for the insurance marker in the third, and finally earned the two-goal advantage when Michael Sagen scored his first as a Bruin.
But goals by Kelvin Walz and Alec Brandrup tied the game at 4-4.
"We got running around, and we got away from the game plan," said head coach/GM Chris Lewgood. "It wasn't from a lack of effort. Our guys worked hard for each other all night. But we failed to execute the game plan (in the final minutes), we got … out of position, and it cost us."
Estevan had a 4-on-3 power play late in overtime, but couldn't convert. And neither team scored in the shootout until Melville's Colin Mospnachuk finally ended it in the fifth round.
Matt Gibney stopped 40 shots in the loss.
Sagen said it was nice to score for the first time as a Bruin, but he wishes his team could have picked up the win.
"We played well – we got four goals," said Sagen. "But it's a tough one to swallow. We were up 4-2, and you have to finish these games off, and you have to win these games."
Estevan had come-from-behind victories in the first two games of the homestand. First they edged the Nipawin Hawks 4-3 on January 24, and then they defeated the La Ronge Ice Wolves 4-3 in overtime on the 25th.
Robertson and Allison scored in a strong first period for the Bruins against Nipawin. The Bruins continued to play well into the second, but gave up three goals in the final 15 minutes to fall behind 3-2 after two.
Captain Tanner Froese scored early in the third to tie the game, and then 31 seconds later, Austin Roesslein's long shot eluded Nipawin goalie Joe O'Brien for the winning goal.
Gibney stopped 23 saves for the win.
Estevan trailed 2-0 and 3-1 against La Ronge, but rallied for the victory. Ben Johnstone scored twice, including the tying goal early in the third period. Austin Daae had the Bruins' other goal in regulation.
Froese scored the winner 89 seconds into overtime.
Brett Lewchuk stopped 33 shots for the victory.
"We need points whenever we can get them, we're in a dogfight for position in the standings, and to get those wins early in the homestand was big," Lewgood said. "Five out of six points isn't bad, it's the way we lost the sixth point that bugs me."
The Bruins record is 22-15-2-5. They'll host the Flin Flon Bombers on February 1 and the Weyburn Red Wings on the 4th. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m.