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Estevan Bears get first win of the season; set franchise records in the process

The Estevan U18 AAA Bears beat the Tisdale Trojans 7-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Estevan Bears versus Tisdale
The Estevan Bears routed the Tisdale Trojans 7-1 Sunday at Affinity Place.

ESTEVAN - The Estevan Eclipse Downhole Solutions U18 AAA Bears had an afternoon to remember on Sunday.

Not only did they pick up their first win of the season with a 7-1 drubbing of the Tisdale Trojans at Affinity Place, but the second year team set franchise records for goals and largest margin of victory in a game.

“We finally put together a 60-minute game,” said forward Daniel Ganert, who had two goals and an assist in the victory. “All of our teammates working together were making really good passes.”

The win over Tisdale came after two straight losses in which Estevan had a multi-goal lead. In Wednesday’s game at the Moose Jaw Warriors, Estevan led 4-1 midway through the second period, but lost 5-4 in a shootout.

Tucker Buhay, Blaze Gutzke and Boston Harkness scored in the first period against Moose Jaw, and Caden Drury tallied in the second for Estevan. The Warriors scored their second goal with 24 seconds to play in the second, and scored twice in the final five minutes of the third.

Moose Jaw then had the lone goal of the shootout.

Jackson Miller made 41 saves for Estevan.

Orin Olson notched a goal and three assists for the Warriors.

“We played well at the start of the game, but then we got into some pretty serious penalty trouble that let them claw back into the game,” said assistant coach Riley Hengen.

Hengen was guiding the team this week after head coach Jeff Smith was suspended for three games for verbal abuse of an official late in the Bears’ second game of the season on Sept. 26.

Then on Saturday, the Bears had a 2-0 lead in the first period against the Trojans, but gave up two in the second and two in the final four minutes of the third.

Cade Cole and Buhay had the Bears’ goals. Both came in the opening three minutes of the first.

Miller stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced.

The Bears raced out to a great start again Sunday, with Marshall Light, Drury and Kole Keen scoring in the opening 12 minutes of the first period. There wouldn’t be a letdown on Sunday, as Ayden Lamarre and Tristan Grohs scored in the first half of the middle frame to give Estevan a 5-0 advantage.

Tisdale would get one back shortly after Grohs scored, but then Ganert scored 38 seconds after Grohs’ goal. Ganert would get one more early in the third to finish the scoring.

Kaden Perron stopped 25 shots for Estevan.

“My teammates and my linemates were making good passes, and they were getting it deep today,” said Ganert. “Same with the defencemen. They were getting the puck up and out of the zone.”

It was good to beat the Trojans the way they did after losing to them on Saturday, Ganert said.

Hengen said the Bears were more disciplined in the first game against the Trojans than they were versus the Warriors, and much more controlled for the second game against Tisdale. They also delivered a strong effort throughout the game.

“I think we just moved our feet today,” said Hengen. “A lot of the penalties that we got in trouble with (previously) were reaching our sticks in and tripping penalties and hooking penalties.”

The lost leads were stressed before Sunday’s game.

“We jumped out early again today, and we just made it clear to the guys that we weren’t going to let our foot off the gas today. We had to keep pushing and pressing, and I thought the guys did a really good job responding,” said Hengen.

Estevan (1-3-1) will host the Notre Dame Hounds on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at Affinity Place. Then they will get their first-ever northern road trip, visiting the Warman Wildcats on Oct. 8, and the Prince Albert Mintos on Oct. 9 and 10.