Returning players and hopeful rookies alike made a bid to be part of the Estevan Bruins' roster for the upcoming season during the club's annual fall camp August 29 to 31.
More than 60 players attended the camp. They were divided into four teams, and participated in scrimmages on the 29th and 30th.
“The young guys came to play, and showed us what we thought all along was correct, that … the future is bright in Estevan,” said head coach and GM Chris Lewgood.
Forty-two players were retained for the annual Black and Gold intersquad game on August 31. Team Black tied the game with a goal late in the third, and then notched the only marker in the shootout to get a 4-3 victory, and to claim the Gerry Aspen Cup.
Richard Yusa had a goal and an assist for Team Black. Keegan Allison and Mahlon Head also scored. Cody Durdle had the shootout winner.
Bobby Palzer started in goal for Black, and allowed one goal in 30 minutes. He was replaced halfway through the game by Tyler Gutenberg.
Third-year forward Wyatt Garagan scored twice for Gold, and put the finishing touches on a strong camp. Connor McKenzie also scored for Gold, while Carter Cowlthorp had two assists.
Brett Lewchuk started in goal for Gold, and didn't allow a goal in 30 minutes of play. Curtis Meger was in net for the rest of the game.
Lewgood lauded Garagan for his play during the camp, saying that he could tell Garagan put in a lot of work this past summer. Defenceman Nolan Nicholas was a strong, steady presence on the blue-line.
Head was among the stand-outs for the first-year players, Lewgood said. So was defenceman Joshua Regier.
“We knew that Josh Regier was going to be an impact guy right away, and he proved that this weekend,” said Lewgood. “He looked like a seasoned veteran.”
Forward Keegan Hull, a 19-year-old American who was a walk-in at camp, surprised the team's brass.
“We're excited to see where he fits in,” said Lewgood. “He's going to get a good long look and opportunity, and he's a guy that really caught our attention.”
The goalies played really well, too, Lewgood said. He noted that the Black-Gold game was low-scoring by intersquad game standards.
Defenceman Zach Douglas missed camp due to an injury sustained during the off-season. Lewgood said that Douglas, who was voted the Bruins' top defenceman last season, might not be ready for the season opener September 18 in Melville.
American blue-line prospect Christian O'Dowd, 19, left the team following the first day of camp.
Forward Darcy DeRoose wasn't at camp, as he is continuing to try out with the WHL's Regina Pats.
The Bruins opened the pre-season with a 4-2 road loss against the Weyburn Red Wings on September 4. RT Rice and Chaseton Sare had the goals for Estevan.
Up next for the Bruins will be a mini-tournament from September 5 to 7. Three teams will be coming to Estevan for the tournament, and they'll play a round-robin.
Estevan's games will be September 5 against the Minot Minotauros at 8 p.m., September 6 against Weyburn at 7:30 p.m., and September 7 against the Virden Oil Capitals at 6 p.m.
The Bruins will then visit the Notre Dame Hounds on September 10.