By Craig Stein
Bruins Get More Breathing Room In Viterra Pennant Race
The Estevan Bruins picked up a much-needed win Wednesday, beating the Notre Dame Hounds 5-1 on the road.
The Bruins (27-17-3-2) all of a sudden had the Weyburn Red Wings breathing down their necks for the Viterra Division lead, with just three points separating the two clubs heading into Wednesday’s action. That cushion is now five points, however the Wings have three games in hand, as the Bruins have played a league-high 49 games, with just 9 left. The Wings will make all those games in hand up shortly, but it won’t be a walk in the park as they visit Battlefords Thursday, before a double dip in Humboldt Friday and Saturday.
Estevan is now off for a week and had five different goal scorers on Wednesday. Michael McChesney and Jerzy Martin each had a goal and an assist. Hayden Guilderson, Tyson Manz and Arthur Miller also added goals and Bo Didur stopped 23/24 shots.
Chaz Smedsrud spoiled Didur’s bid for a shutout with a third period powerplay goal for the Hounds (26-17-1-3). Notre Dame remains in 6th place overall, two points up on Weyburn, three back of Humboldt.
With games in hand on every team in front of them, there’s still an outside chance of the Kindersley Klippers moving up in the standings, maybe even into the top six if a lot goes their way over the final month, but the first order of business would be at least securing home ice in a Wild Card series. There’s a better than average chance that the Klippers will see Flin Flon win the 8th vs 9th series.
The Klippers (20-18-3-3) took another step toward that on Wednesday, edging the La Ronge Ice Wolves 2-1. Cameron Shorrock and Brock Swaluk (first SJHL goal) had the goals, after Justin Bill opened the scoring for the Ice Wolves (8-36-0-3) in the second period.
Zach Johnson picked up his first SJHL win, stopping 25/26 shots in goal for the Klippers. Merek Pipes turned away 29/31 for the Ice Wolves.
The Melfort Mustangs are another team with a double digit point gap above and below them in the standings, and odds are they’re locked into 4th place overall, and home ice in the Quarter-Finals.
Melfort won their 32nd game of the year Wednesday night, rolling to a 5-2 decision over the Yorkton Terriers.
Ben Allen (2g-1a) and Tyson Meyers scored twice each while Zach Anderson rounded out the scoring and Hunter Arps made 24/26 saves.
Matthew Jones opened the scoring for the Terriers (9-33-2-2) and Parker Gavlas added one more in the third. Yorkton is winless in five (0-4-0-1) and has one win in their last 10 (1-8-0-1). They’re 12 points out of a playoff spot, and have arguably, a last-ditch effort to get back in the conversation when they play a home and home with Melville, who holds the last playoff spot, this Friday and Saturday.