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Bruins defeat Red Lake 6-2 at Centennial Cup; keep playoff hopes alive

Both teams are seeking their first win of the tournament.
Estevan Bruins Red Lake Miners pic
The Estevan Bruins are facing the Red Lake Miners Monday night at Affinity Place.

ESTEVAN - The Estevan Bruins kept their playoff hopes alive at the Centennial Cup national junior A hockey championship, presented by Tim Hortons, by defeating the Red Lake Miners 6-2 Monday night at Affinity Place.  

Captain Eric Houk had a hat trick for Estevan and Eric Pearce added three assists in the victory.

Kade Runke gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead six minutes into the first period, and Caelan Fitzpatrick doubled the advantage seven minutes later. Red Lake would get on the board with less than five minutes to play in the period on a goal by Jordan Baranesky. 

The teams traded goals to start the second period, with Mark Rumsey scoring less than two minutes into the frame for Estevan, but Ryan Hunter responded with a power play goal for Red Lake. 

Bruins' captain Eric Houk then scored two quick power-play goals for Estevan to give the host team a three-goal cushion. 

“He’s been good all year and he was really good for us in the playoffs,” said Bruins head coach and general manager Jason Tatarnic. “He’s a good leader and I thought he played extremely well.”

Houk was pleased with the team’s ability to get players in front of the net against Red Lake.

“We moved the puck around. We weren’t really trying to force things too much and not skip steps. I think that helped, and a couple of lucky bounces led to an open net,” said Houk.

Red Lake had a glorious chance to score late in the second, but Bruins' goaltender Boston Bilous made a sensational glove save off of Hunter. His Bruin teammates gathered around him after the stop to thank him.  

“That was a great save. He’s made a bunch of them for us this year. That one’s up there, but he’s done it all year for us,” said Tatarnic.  

Bilous said that was a save he needed to make for the team.

“We’ve had two rougher games, and we just wanted to win tonight. I could care less about how great that save was,” he said.

Estevan had a five-minute power play in the third period after Carter Albrecht hit Bruins’ defenceman Alex Von Sprecken from behind, but couldn't covert. It remained a 5-2 game until Houk scored into an empty net in the final minute.  

Bilous finished with 23 saves on the night, while Kiev Kineshanko made 33 saves for Red Lake. 

Bilous thought the Bruins were working harder and playing a simpler game against Red Lake.  

Estevan and Red Lake were both 0-2 to start the tournament, and need a win to remain in contention for the tournament’s medal round. Red Lake has now been eliminated from playoff contention.  

Estevan will close out the round robin Wednesday night against the top-ranked Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Red Lake's final game is Tuesday night against College Francais de Longueuil, who won the Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec. will have updates after each period.