Goaltender Jackson Miller was quite confident his Estevan Bruins were going to beat the number one ranked Battlefords North Stars Saturday night at Affinity Place, even when all signs pointed to the contrary.
The Stars entered the game as the top team in Canada, having yet to lose in regulation this season. Still, Miller said he sensed a different feeling inside the Bruins locker room in the hours leading up to puck drop.
"I think everyone could just feel that we were going to beat them before the game," said Miller. "We were all just ready to go and we all wanted it real bad, so we really had a good feeling about going into that game and we all played really well, and it was pretty amazing to beat them and that's a really, really big win for us right?"
"We were expecting to win is what we wanted to do. We expected to win"
Miller made 30 stops in the shutout victory. Afterwards, he got to share the moment with family, including his father Aren Miller, one of the Bruins assistant coaches.
"It was awesome...I don't think there would have been a better night for it really," said the 18-year-old netminder. "It was a pretty memorable night."
The Estevan native admitted that after a slow start, he feels like he's starting to come into his own midway through his first Junior A season.
"Obviously it started a bit slower than I would have liked, but I think I've picked it up and worked my way into being used to the speed and how everyone plays and just the difference it is from playing in younger leagues," Miller said. "But I feel like I've picked it up and adjusted well to it, and I'm enjoying it."
Miller said the win over Battlefords is a real confidence builder for the Bruins as the playoffs draw nearer.
"Now we know we can beat the best of the best, so all we've got to do is play really hard every night and we should be able to get it done," he said. "We have everything we need to beat good teams, so we've just got to work hard."
The Bruins will travel up to La Ronge and Flin Flon before enjoying a 12-day break leading into February.