ESTEVAN - The Estevan Bruins extended their winning streak to five games by sweeping a weekend home and home with the Melville Millionaires.
Estevan edged the Mills 4-3 on Friday in Melville and romped to a 7-1 win over the Mills the following night.
Ilya Chmelevski scored 36 seconds into the first period of Friday night's game in Melville, and Tristan Dussault's goal a few minutes later put Estevan up by two. Flynn Maxcy scored twice for the Mills in the opening 6 1/2 minutes of the second period to tie the game.
Zach Burfoot put the Bruins ahead in the third with his first since rejoining the Bruins, and Ben Wright's power-play goal with 6:28 to play in the third proved to be the game winner. Luc Bydal scored late in the third for Melville.
Cam Hrdlicka made 34 saves for Estevan, while William Dyke stopped 27 shots for Melville.
Seven different players scored for Estevan in Saturday's game. Brady Wilson opened the scoring midway through the first period for the Bruins, and then the Black and Gold scored three times in a 2:56 span for a 4-0 edge after the first period. Carsyn Dyck, Felix Allard and Burfoot scored in rapid fashion.
Gabriel Filion's marker 4:32 into the second period added to the Bruins lead. But moments later, Filion was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking. Melville didn't score and generated few chances.
The Mills finally got on the board with 4:21 to play in the middle frame when Bydal scored, but the Bruins restored the five-goal cushion 23 seconds later on a Kaelen Whittingham goal.
Dussault rounded out the scoring with 40 seconds to play in the third. Dussault has a goal in each of the last five games.
He credited the team's recent success, and his production, to a better work ethic, both in games and in practices.
"I think we played very well and I think that created our success," said Dussault.
Hrdlicka made 29 saves in his fourth straight start. Ethan Rau had 25 saves for Melville.
Head coach and general manager Jason Tatarnic said continuity has been the biggest difference for the team.
"We made some changes that, as a staff, we thought were going to improve our hockey team, and we knew it would take a little time for guys to gel, so things are coming together nicely right now and they're playing good hockey and they're scoring goals. There are still some areas we need to clean up, but we'll get to that when we get back to practice next week."
Tatarnic pointed to the third period against the Notre Dame Hounds in Carlyle on Oct. 20 as a catalyst for their success. The Bruins nearly rallied from a 5-2 deficit in that game, and while they lost 5-4, it started a 6-1-1 run.
The club is also pleased to have Burfoot back. He was part of the Bruins' SJHL championship team in 2022, and then went to the North American Hockey League. He was reacquired by the Bruins last week.
"Zach and his family reached out to me to see if we had interest in him coming back, and I said 'Yeah, for sure'. Players are going to go try different things. That's fine. If they want to come back, we'll take them with open arms," said Tatarnic.
The Bruins have traded forward Jack Piper to a team in Ontario, while forward Mark Corbett was dealt to Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League, where he'll play for former Bruins' assistant coach Phil Fife.
Alameda's Spencer Copefand has been reassigned to the Fort Knox junior B team.
The next two games for the Bruins (9-6-0-2) will be at the SJHL Showcase in Warman. They will play the Battlefords North Stars on Nov. 13 and the Flin Flon Bombers on Nov. 14. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.
"I think if we play the same way that we did today, we will for sure enjoy success," Dussault said.
Tatarnic said Showcase is a chance to play in front of college and NHL scouts, and so they look forward to the chance.