The Estevan Bruins run of success against the Melfort Mustangs was on the line when they faced off on Saturday, December 1. The run continued, though the Mustangs did not make it as easy as the previous two games.
The Bruins power play connected twice on five opportunities thanks to TJ Irey and Johnny Witzke, and Turner Ripplinger added a shorthanded goal as the Bruins won their third straight against Melfort 4-3. Michael McChesney scored at even strength and Grant Boldt stopped 26 of 29 shots in the win.
The Bruins power play had been sleepwalking through much of the road trip, but it woke up in a big way midway through the first. Jayden Davis threw a pass from the left circle to the right, and Irey received and released the pass in one motion, ripping it under the bar on the short side.
The Mustangs power play supplied their answer as leading goal scorer Justin Ball fired a one-timer low and hard through Boldt’s five-hole. But early in the second, McChesney gave the Bruins the lead back, taking a pass from Bryce Platt from below the goal line. Though his first shot was blocked, McChesney stuck with it and snapped it home.
The Mustangs again had a response, and it was again Ball who gave it. He got a step wide to his left entering the Bruins zone and drove his way toward the goal, firing home another shot through the five-hole.
That, however, was the last time the Mustangs would tie the game. Witzke took another Platt pass on the power play and, from nearly the same spot as McChesney, gave the Bruins another lead.
The Mustangs had their chance to get back to the tie once again with Platt serving two consecutive minors for cross checking and tripping. That chance turned on them, however, when Ripplinger stripped the puck from his check at the line and had a breakaway all the way from the far blue line in. Ripplinger ripped the puck upstairs to round out the Bruins scoring.
Mustangs captain Carson Albrecht brought his team back within one late in the third, and the Mustangs pressed with the net empty but could not get another equalizer. The Bruins improve to 15-17-1 on the year, and wrap up their last four-game road trip of the campaign.
The Bruins move to 3-0 against Melfort on the year. With the exception of the Weyburn Red Wings, who the Bruins have not yet played, they are only unbeaten against one other team, the Melville Millionaires (also 3-0).
Michael McChesney scored a goal and an assist tonight. He had five points in two games in Melfort this year.
Grant Boldt played the last three games for the Bruins and went 2-1 with a 1.66 GAA and a .944 save percentage. He is the only Bruins goaltender with a save percentage over .900 on the year.
This was the first time all season the Bruins have won two games on a road trip of three games or more. They surrendered just eight goals in the four games.