As the Christmas break nears, the Estevan Apex midget AA Bruins continue to climb towards the top of the South Sask midget AA league. The Bruins won two more contests over the weekend to push their streak to 10 victories in a row.
Estevan is not only winning hockey games, they're flat-out dominating their opponents in most cases, and are now just one point back of the Notre Dame Argos for top spot in the league.
The Bruins hosted the Notre Dame Hounds on Saturday night in a contest that saw them crush the Hounds 8-2. Estevan led 3-1 after the first period and 6-1 after two.
Cole Blischak and Dylan Herzberg each had two goals for the Bruins, while Brody Connelly, Marshall Holzer, Rhett Handley and Mark Moriarty had the other Estevan markers. Nate Ferris was solid in between the pipes for the Bruins, and earned the victory.
After the game, Bruins head coach Tom Copeland said they didn't expect to be able to beat the Hounds as soundly as they did, but they have been working hard and are putting the puck in the net at a rate higher than any other cub in the league right now.
"They (the Hounds) really haven't been scoring a lot, but we certainly expected a better defensive effort from them," Copeland said. "It wasn't really the game we expected, but we played a very good game; we got good goaltending and we were fairly opportunistic in scoring our goals."
Estevan travelled to Balgonie on Sunday to face the Prairie Storm. Though they were on the road, the game looked much the same as the victory over the Hounds the day before. The Bruins dominated the Prairie Storm en route to a 7-2 win.
Handley potted two goals for Estevan, while Herzberg, Moriarty, Brody Connelly, Austin Halladay, and Brycen Odgers scored the others.
According to Copeland, as good as the Bruins were against Notre Dame on Saturday, they played even stronger on the road on Sunday.
"We were probably even better defensively," he said. "We're really shutting teams down in the neutral zone right now, and we have a good staggered attack. We were breaking them down in the neutral zone and then scoring in transition. That's something we really focus on."
The Bruins record now stands at 18-3-1 on the season. They have two more games this weekend before the holidays. Estevan hosts the Regina Flames on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Civic. On Sunday they are in Moose Jaw to face the Warriors at 1 p.m.
"We need to win both games or we won't be in first place by Christmas time, and that was our goal," Copeland said. "By no means are we taking anyone lightly - we'll have a good week in practice and we'll be ready for them."