By the time the final buzzer sounded in the game between the Estevan Bruins and Weyburn Red Wings, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who the first star of the game was going to be.
Though the Bruins fell 6-1 to the rival Red Wings in the heated contest, the play of goaltender Cody Levesque was the story of the night. In a major departure from the Bruins previous 8-2 win in Weyburn, Levesque turned in a sterling performance, stopping 45 of 46 shots in the win.
Ben Hiltz scored twice and assisted on a goal by Jordan Kazymyra, while Jevon Schwean, Drew Anderson, and Sean Olson also scored. Isaiah Thomas provided Estevan’s only tally with Grant Boldt allowing five goals on 25 shots., not counting Olson’s empty-netter.
Thomas’s goal was one of the stranger ones of the year, and the fluky bounce was the only goal to beat Levesque all afternoon. Just over seven minutes in, Thomas dumped the puck in from center, ringing it around the glass and watching in awe as it hit a partition and bounced past Levesque as he came out to play it.
The Red Wings got a lucky bounce of their own, however, as a dump out attempt bounced right into the slot onto the tape of Hiltz, who scored his team-leading 16thof the year from in tight. Minutes later, Hiltz won a battle below the goal line and fed the puck out front to Kazymyra for what would prove to be the game-winning goal.
Hiltz got another pro-Red Wing bounce in the second when Johnny Witzke’s pass stuck on a patch of dead ice and settled down on Hiltz’s tape in the slot once again. The Red Wings leading goal scorer added to his totals, finishing high glove on Boldt.
Another battle below the goal line, won by Tyran Brown and Jacob Piller, led to Schwean’s goal as he snuck in from the point and tapped in a back-door feed. The Levesque took over. He robbed both Michael McChesney and Jayden Davis on two-on-ones before the period was over, and stonewalled Tristyn DeRoose alone on the doorstep as well.
Levesque carried his stellar play into the third, where numerous grade-A chances, including a crossbar by McChesney and a breakaway by Davis, yielded no goals. By the time Olson added an empty netter, the game was all but out of reach. Then, on a late power play, Anderson cemented the blowout with his first as a Red Wing.
The loss drops the Bruins to 17-19-3 on the year. They take a week off before facing the Yorkton Terriers in a crucial matchup at Affinity Place.
The Bruins had not lost this badly to the Red Wings during Chris Lewgood’s tenure as Bruins head coach and GM. Their last loss to the Red Wings by a 6-1 count came on December 30 of 2011.
The Bruins failed to gain ground on the Yorkton Terriers, who also lost a matinee game to the Melville Millionaires. The Bruins trail Yorkton by four points for the Viterra Division lead.
Isaiah Thomas’s six goals lead all Bruins rookies. He now has 18 points on the year, which would have led all Bruins rookies last year as well.