ESTEVAN - The Estevan Bruins opened the 2023-24 SJHL campaign with a 3-2 victory over the Melville Millionaires Friday night at Affinity Place.
The game felt like the first contest of the regular season at times, and neither team scored in an uneventful opening period, but the action and intensity picked up as the night progressed.
Owen Barrow notched the Bruins' first goal of the season 81 seconds into the middle frame. It remained a 1-0 game until less than five minutes remained in the period, when Brendan Hunchak scored his first as a Bruin on a power play.
But the Mills scored twice before the period was out. Former Estevan U18 AAA Bears' captain Caden Drury tallied 48 seconds after Hunchak scored, and Euan Morrison tied the game 1:59 after Drury's goal on a Melville power play.
Estevan regained the lead 7:02 into the third off of a Felix Allard point shot on another Bruins' man advantage. It was Allard's first goal as a Bruin.
Hunchak had two assists to go with his goal and Little added three helpers.
Cam Hrdlicka made 26 saves to get the win for the Bruins while William Dyke also came up with 26 saves for Melville.
The announced crowd for the game was 1,485 fans.
The two teams will meet again Saturday night in Melville at 7 p.m. It will be the Mills' home opener.