The Estevan Steelhaus U18 AAA Bears pulled off arguably their biggest victories in franchise history on the weekend and gave their playoff hopes a big boost in the process.
The Bears took two straight games in Swift Current, winning 4-2 on Saturday and 4-0 on Sunday.
The Bears (14-20-7) have 35 points, which leaves them two back of the Legionnaires (16-19-5) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League. Estevan has three games remaining, and Swift Current has four. Sandwiched between Swift Current and Estevan are the Battlefords Stars (16-19-4) with 36 points and five games to play.
The wins over Swift Current also gave the Bears a sweep in the season series – a first in the short franchise history of the Bears.
In Saturday’s game, Marshall Light and Carson Birnie scored in the first period to give the Bears a 2-0 advantage. Kole Keen scored in the second period, and Light added his second of the game in the third.
Caden Drury opened the scoring midway through the first period of Sunday’s game. It remained a 1-0 game until the third period, when Ayden Lamarre scored twice to put Estevan up three. Daniel Ganert rounded out the scoring.
Jackson Miller was in goal for both games. He stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced on Saturday, and all 52 shots on Sunday to get his first shutout in U18 AAA play.
The Bears will look to keep the momentum going Thursday when they host the Yorkton Maulers at 8 p.m. at Affinity Place.
The Estevan Apex U18 AA Bruins had a busy week, playing three times in a five-day span, including two against one of their challengers for top spot.
The first game was a 5-4 win on Wednesday against the Notre Dame Argos in Wilcox. Kaden Chrest scored the winning goal with 2:58 to play in the third to break a 4-4 tie. James Mann scored twice for Estevan, and Carter Beck and Spencer Copeland also scored.
Keagan Carley was in goal for Estevan.
Then on Saturday, the Bruins doubled up the Regina Vics 4-2 in a clash of the top two teams in the South Division of the Saskatchewan AA Hockey League’s U18 division. Landon Kaban and Mann scored in the first period, and Copeland and Strahn Douglas tallied in the second. Douglas’ goal came with 20 seconds to play in the middle frame.
Carley made 29 saves in the victory.
The Bruins lost 4-3 in overtime to the Vics on Sunday. Copeland scored twice for Estevan in the second period, including one with 21 seconds to play in the second, and Chrest also scored.
Carley stopped 21 shots.
Estevan (27-5-2) will visit the Notre Dame Hounds on Feb. 15 and the Argos on Feb. 20 to close out the regular season.
The Estevan TS&M U15 AA Bruins split their road games on the weekend.
Estevan lost 11-3 to the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday. Payton Phillips scored for Estevan with five minutes to play in the first period to give Estevan a 1-0 lead after one.
Conrad Hase’s goal in the second put Estevan up 2-1, but then Swift Current took over. Kobe Wotta rounded out the scoring for Estevan in the third.
Chase Borreson made 26 saves in the loss.
The next day, Estevan defeated the Moose Jaw Warriors 4-2. Tristan Brownridge gave Estevan a 1-0 after the first period, and then Brownridge and Carter Hirsch tallied in the second for a 3-0 lead. Payton Phillips added to the lead in the third, before Moose Jaw scored twice late in the third.
Estevan outshot Moose Jaw 74-22. Jaxon Kuchinka stopped 20 shots for Estevan.
The U15 Bruins (5-22) moved into the eighth and final playoff spot in the South Division with the win. They will visit the Regina Aces on Feb. 20.
The Estevan Meter U13 AA Bruins split a pair of weekend games against the Swift Current Broncos in a clash of the top two teams in the South Division.
Estevan defeated Swift Current 6-2 on Saturday to hand the Broncos their first loss in league play this season. Broden Henry opened the scoring 27 seconds into the contest. Raif Henrion scored before the end of the frame.
Nathan Gardiner scored twice in the second, and Boston Tait added two in the third for Estevan.
Easton Pushie made 21 saves for the victory.
Swift Current recovered to beat Estevan 7-3 on Sunday and clinch top spot in the division for the regular season. The Broncos raced out ot a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Jayden Chernoff scored twice for Estevan and Riley Gigian also scored.
Myles Lequyer and Pushie shared the goaltending duties.
Estevan (19-4-1) will finish second in the division. They will close out the season Tuesday with a game in Swift Current.