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Bruins recruit already broke the ice

Entering his rookie season with the Estevan Bruins, Ryan Ostertag is already feeling a little like a veteran.

Entering his rookie season with the Estevan Bruins, Ryan Ostertag is already feeling a little like a veteran.The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League announced June 23 that the Bruins had received commitments from midget AAA graduates Ostertag and Josh Jelinski for the 2010-11 season.Ostertag was called up by the Bruins for their annual January home-and-home set with the Weyburn Red Wings, scoring a penalty shot goal in a 3-2 loss Jan. 2 at Weyburn."I think it really does [help] even one or two games being with the team and being in that atmosphere," Ostertag said in an interview Friday. "It's a lot different than AAA."Ostertag showed an aptitude for quick adjustments last season too.He made his midget AAA debut at age 17 and went on to finish fourth on the Tisdale Trojans in scoring with 20 goals and 21 assists in 43 regular season games."He really knows how to put the puck in the net," said Trojans assistant coach Colin Ruether. "He's a goal scorer and I really think he'll do good at the next level."Ruether had a front-row seat as Ostertag, listed at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, turned his game up a level after Christmas, registering 22 points in 18 games.Ruether attributed the turnaround partially to Ostertag's increasing willingness to mix it up physically."It's not really his game but, occasionally, when he did turn up his physical game a bit he really became a good player," said Ruether. "He's just got to find a way to do it all the time."One of the top players from the Bruins' spring camp in April, Ostertag had also been courted by the Langley Hornets and Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League."Last year I did move away from home, and it was hard, but B.C. is a long ways away too and I really think Estevan's a far better organization and it's going to be a good place to play," he said.Perhaps even moreso if Ostertag can continue playing beyond his relatively small stature."Of course first of all I'm a rookie and I have to accept my role. I might have to play on the third or fourth lines to start but I'm going to try to work my way up," said Ostertag. "I'm a mostly offensive player and not so much on the defensive side so that's something I need to work on.Jelinski could not be reached for an interview but Jeremy Ebbett, his assistant coach last season with the AAA midget Moose Jaw Warriors, said the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder is "captain material."Jelinski is also entering his 18-year-old season and finished 2009-10 with 12 goals and nine assists in 43 games for Moose Jaw.He was a teammate of Estevan product and Bruins list player Austin Daae, who will also get a look in the fall from the WHL's Saskatoon Blades.Daae and Jelinski tied for the team lead in playoff goals with two in four games as the Warriors were eliminated by the eventual Telus Cup national champion Notre Dame Hounds.Jelinski was held pointless in his only game with the Bruins last season.