The Estevan Bruins streak of seven consecutive games with a point came to an end Saturday night, and it was against their top rivals.
The Bruins dropped a 1-0 decision to the Weyburn Red Wings at Affinity Place, one night after defeating the Wings 4-3 in Weyburn. Estevan had also beaten Weyburn in the previous four meetings between the two teams prior to Saturday.
Dain Sardelli scored twice and Erik Boers notched the winner with less than six minutes to play in the third period in Friday’s victory over Weyburn.
Sardelli opened the scoring less than four minutes into the first period, and the Bruins controlled the first few minutes of the game.
“I was looking pass the whole time, and the pass wasn’t open, so I just shot it on the ice, hoping for a rebound, but it snuck by him (Weyburn goalie Joseph Young),” said Sardelli.
Weyburn tied the game on a goal by Dace Prymak midway through the first, and the Wings carried the bulk of the play in the rest of the frame, thanks to three power plays.
Weyburn took the lead in the second on a goal by Jake Misskey, but the Bruins tied the game a few minutes later when Isaiah Thomas scored from the side boards.
It remained a 2-2 game until late in the second, when Shayde Peterson scored with 27 seconds remaining to restore Weyburn’s advantage.
Sardelli scored his second of the game in the third when he converted a pass by Eddie Gallagher.
“I was driving the net hard, and Eddie Gallagher had the puck, and I knew he’d put it on the tape if my stick was down,” said Sardelli.
Then Boers scored his first as a Bruin after a scramble in front of the Weyburn net.
Randy Cooke stopped 28 shots for the victory. He made several impressive saves, particularly when the game was tied 2-2. One of the saves was at the expense of former Bruin Nikolas Sombrowski.
The Bruins killed off all eight of Weyburn's power plays during the game. Twice in the second period, the Bruins were two men short.
Kabir Gill had the lone goal Saturday night for on a screened point shot 7:48 into the first period, during a Weyburn power play.
The Bruins struggled to generate offensive chances until midway through the third period. They started to create more opportunities and had several quality scoring chances in the final 12 minutes.
Arguably the best came with about four minutes to play in the third period when Devan Harrison hit the post with a shot that eluded Young, who finished with 35 saves on the night.
Bruin forward Tanner Manz said it came down to not getting pucks on net Saturday night.
“We got pucks on net the last games, and their goalie played pretty well today,” said Manz. “I wouldn’t say they changed anything that we couldn’t adapt to ourselves.”
It was reminiscent of the season opener in Weyburn, he said. The Bruins lost 2-0 that night and couldn’t convert their scoring opportunities.
“We know how big these games are in our division and in the standings and against our division rivals, too,” said Manz.
Keenan Rancier made 30 saves for the Bruins, whose record fell to 19-18-3-1.
Head coach and general manager Chris Lewgood said the Bruins ran into penalty problems in the second game as well, which kept them from generating momentum.
“For the most part, we carried the play five-on-five, but we kept stinging ourselves with penalties,” said Lewgood.
The Bruins need to do a better job of capitalizing on their chances, which they had done since the Christmas break.
Estevan continues to occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the league’s overall standings with a 19-18-3-1 mark. They are five points clear of the ninth place Kindersley Klippers, and have two games in hand
The Black and Gold will host the Notre Dame Hounds Friday night and the Humboldt Broncos Saturday. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.