The Estevan Bruins went up against a fellow offensive juggernaut on Tuesday, November 6. Thanks to goaltender Jake Anthony, it was only the Bruins offense that got rolling in the game.
Anthony stopped 43 of 44 shots thrown his way, and Michael McChesney, TJ Irey, Bryce Platt, and Turner Ripplinger all scored in the win as Estevan ran the Yorkton Terriers vaunted offense into a wall, beating them 4-1. Mason Mullaney scored for Yorkton, while Ryan Oullette made 41 saves of his own on 45 Bruins shots.
The Bruins were happy with the win, though the inflated shot totals were, according to Bruins head coach and GM Chris Lewgood, a reflection of some sloppy play each way.
"It was scrambly," he said. "A bit of pond hockey against those guys and that's how they like to play. I thought we did a good job of keeping it tight on the inside. We did give up some quality scoring chances against but for the most part, we did our job and limited their key gunners to very few chances."
Scrambly play resulted in the Bruins first goal in the opening period as the puck pinballed around the Yorkton zone before stopping on the stick of McChesney in the slot. It was off his stick almost as soon as it settled down as he beat Oullette glove side for his team-leading 11th.
TJ Irey expanded the Bruins lead and buried the eventual game-winner on an odd-man rush in the second. Irey went to the far side of the net hunting a rebound, found one, and slipped it through Oullette's pads.
"I just came right off the bench and Jake Heerspink made a nice shot," Irey said. "It deflected off the pad, right to my stick and I was lucky enough to put it five-hole."
From there, the Terriers began to press, scoring their only goal of the game and nearly getting another on a two-on-one. But Anthony was there with key saves in big moments, including on two breakaways in the first two periods.
"This feels phenomenal," said Anthony of his performance. "Having three goalies (on the Bruins), not getting into the net a lot in a row, it's nice to get this game under my belt."
The Bruins rewarded their goaltender with some offense in the third period. As a power play expired, Isaiah Thomas spotted Platt drifting to the back door and hit him right on the tape through a seem, giving the Bruins the two-goal lead back. Then, off a defensive zone draw. Jayden Davis spotted the puck being moved back to the point, picked it off and carried the other way, hitting Ripplinger to finish off the two-on-one.
Anthony's finest moment came shortly after, with the game already all but out of reach for Yorkton. At the end of a Bruins five-on-three, Jared Legien and Cole Keenlyside stepped out of the penalty box and came in on a two-on-none only to be stifled by Anthony.
"Why didn't I push the net off?" Anthony joked. "I knew they were coming out of the box and I saw the boys were still in the offensive zone so I knew I was going to have to come out and challenge and expect a couple of passes in the slot."
The win puts Estevan at 11-10 on the year and carries them into a stretch of three games in three nights on the road. The Bruins next play against Battlefords on Friday, November 9. The game will be broadcast on Rock 106.
The Bruins have won four straight games overall and five straight at home. Bryce Platt has a goal in all of those games. Estevan is 6-1 when Platt scores.
The line of Michael McChesney, Jayden Davis, and Turner Ripplinger combined for five points. McChesney and Ripplinger share the team lead with 11 goals each.
Estevan and Yorkton went a combined 0-for-9 on the power play. The Bruins now have the league's second lowest-ranked power play at 15 per cent.
The win by Estevan moves them into first place in the Viterra Division. Yorkton has two games in hand. Estevan is 4-0 against divisional opponents on the year.