Skip to content

Estevan Bruins excited to advance to the SJHL semifinals

Opponent has yet to be determined
Bruins Hounds shake hands
The Estevan Bruins and the Notre Dame Hounds shake hands after the Bruins eliminated the Hounds from the playoffs Saturday night.

The Estevan Bruins have advanced to the semifinal round in the SJHL playoffs.

Estevan trounced the Notre Dame Hounds 8-1 on Saturday night at Affinity Place to win the best of seven quarter-final series in five games.

Mark Rumsey opened the scoring 2:45 into the opening period for Estevan, and Olivier Pouliot doubled the lead less than three minutes later. Pouliot added a short-handed goal with 8:56 to play in the frame.

“We knew that if we lost Game 5, we were going back there, so I think it was important just to show them and to show all the league how we can do and how we’re going to play all playoff,” said Pouliot.

Dayton Deics scored 50 seconds into the second period for a 4-0 Bruin lead, forcing Notre Dame to make a goal change. Austin Elliott was replaced by Ryley Osland.

Rumsey and Deics scored 19 seconds apart a few minutes later and Eric Pearce added another late in the second.

Connor Nolan scored 8:27 into the third period for the Hounds' lone goal of the night. Kade Runke finished the scoring for Estevan with under two minutes to play.

Boston Bilous stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced for Estevan, while Elliott (17 saves on 21 shots) and Osland (23 on 27 shots) split the goaltending duties for Notre Dame.

Head coach and general manager Jason Tatarnic said the Bruins wanted to come out with a good work ethic.

“We’ve had some significant wins against them on the scoreboard, so we felt if we could get up by a few, it would be hard for them to get back into it,” said Tatarnic.

Notre Dame opened the series with a 4-3 win in double overtime at Affinity Place on March 18, but the Bruins responded with four straight wins: 4-1 in Game 2 March 19 in Estevan, 6-1 in Game 3 March 22 in Wilcox and 3-2 in overtime in Game 4 two nights later in Wilcox.

In Game 3, Runke set the tone early with a goal 91 seconds into the first period. It remained a 1-0 game until the 15:52 mark of the opening frame when Pearce scored for Estevan, but former Bruin Nikolas Sombrowski scored 16 seconds later to pull the Hounds to within one.

Pearce scored his second of the game in the second for a 3-1 lead, and then Mitch Kohner, Olivier Pouliot and Caelan Fitzpatrick had goals in the third.

Bilous made 18 saves for the Bruins while Elliott stopped 34 shots for Notre Dame.

Fitzpatrick scored 5:01 into overtime to lift the Black and Gold to the win in Game 4.

The winning goal came seconds after a faceoff in the Hounds' zone. Notre Dame actually won the draw, but there was a turnover behind the Hounds’ net, and after a couple of chances, Fitzpatrick potted the winner.

Notre Dame’s Nolen Coventry opened the scoring with about seven minutes to play in the first period. Nolan Jones’ power-play goal four minutes later tied the game.

The score remained even until late in the second, when Kian Calder scored with 2:10 to play in the frame.

Notre Dame’s Kevin Anderson scored 3:43 into the third to knot the game up once again.

Bilous made 28 saves on 30 shots for the Bruins. Elliott stopped 40 of the 43 shots he faced. 

“I thought the first night we played well. We played a really good game,” said Tatarnic. “I thought the next game, Game 4, we were a little lucky to win that game. Sometimes you need luck and we had some chances but things just weren’t going our way. That was the best game I thought Notre Dame played.”

Tatarnic also praised the play of Bilous, who made some timely saves in the series, such as eight minutes into the first period of Game 5 when it was still a 2-0 game.

“Boston’s been great for us,” said Tatarnic. “That’s why he’s here and that’s why we brought him in and that’s why we went after him. He’s dialled in right now and he’s a big-time goalie.”

Notre Dame didn`t score on 19 power play opportunities during the series, and the Bruins also had two short-handed goals. Pouliot said he’s never been on a team that had more short-handed goals than power-play goals against in a series.

“We just play the right way. We adapted really well to their power play. I think the coaching staff does a really good job as well. We apply it and it works really well.”

The Bruins have advanced to the semifinal four times in six seasons. The two times the Bruins didn’t in 2020 and 2021, which were shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Estevan’s opponent in the next round of the playoffs had not been determined as of press time. Game 1 is slated for Friday night.


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks