ESTEVAN - The Estevan Bruins dropped a 5-3 decision Friday night to College Francais de Longueuil in their opening game at the 2022 Centennial Cup national junior A hockey championship, presented by Tim Hortons.
Defenceman Alex Von Sprecken, an Estevan hockey product, gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 86 seconds into the first period, much to the delight of the large crowd at Affinity Place.
Nolan Jones doubled the lead with a power-play goal 5 1/2 minutes later.
Longueuil cut the lead in half with a power-play marker of their own with 7:02 to play in the first period. Vincent Bernier scored just moments after the Bruins had a couple of great scoring chances while short-handed.
Bruin captain Erik Houk would score with 2:34 to play in the first period to restore the two-goal lead.
The Bruins had chances to extend the lead. Dayton Deics hit the post less than five minutes into the second period. And then Estevan had a two-man advantage for two minutes, thanks to a four-minute double minor for kneeing assessed to Longueuil, followed by a two-minute minor about a minute later. But the Bruins couldn't convert, and it would by Longueui's Maxime Gagne who would score a short-handed goal late in the Bruins' power play.
Longueuil had a power play late in the second and to start the third, and early in the final frame, Owen Stammer would score to tie the game. The Quebec representatives had a four-minute power play of their own midway through the third, but didn't convert. Estevan then had some opportunities to score of their own, but against the flow of the play, Gagne would get a break and score with five minutes to play.
He would add one more into an empty net to finish the scoring.
Longueuil outshot Estevan 33-31 on the night. Boston Bilous (Estevan) and Simon Berube (Longueuil) are in goal.
Estevan was in their first game of the tournament and Longueuil was in their second. They lost 5-2 to the Brooks Bandits Thursday night.