They were the only two pre-season games they got to play, but the Estevan Sherritt Coal peewee AA Bruins made the most of them, beating Melville 8-3 and 8-4 in back-to-back games on Saturday. Due to a lack of available ice time at this point in the year, the games were played in Lebret.
Bruins coach Brad Pierson said he didn't exactly know what to think heading into the games. Melville didn't have a strong team last year, but Pierson said they had high hopes for what their team would be this year, so he was a bit nervous as to where his club would stack up.
"They had played two games against Yorkton, who I feel will be one of the top teams in the league, and we beat them by very comparable scores," he said. "So I was pretty happy with the outcome."
In the second of the two games on Saturday, Pierson said it was evident his team hadn't played a lot of hockey yet because their conditioning wasn't up to that of Melville's, even though they beat them.
"I think the conditioning will come in time," he said. "I'm not a coach that likes to go out and bag-skate my players to condition them. I'm a big believer in just having the kids learn the systems we're trying to implement and work on their skill development more than conditioning."
There are definitely things that Pierson wants to improve on, but scoring will not likely be a problem. Sixteen goals in two games shows just how skilled the Bruins forwards are. He said quite a few of those goals came from one line, which he had anticipated, but every line did contribute.
"I think as a whole, we're going to be very solid. Up front we have quite a few kids that will be able to score on a consistent basis," said Pierson. "Defensively, I'm pretty happy with our core group, and I think I'm going to have two of the best goalies."
The Bruins open the regular season against Moose Mountain on Thursday night, and according to Pierson, that's going to be the test to see how they can compete against the top teams in the league.
"Yorkton handled Melville the same way we did, and they and Moose Mountain tied in exhibition play. I really intend to be in the top three, and I think it's setting up to be a very competitive year," Pierson said.
After the game with Moose Mountain in Carlyle on Thursday, the Bruins will be at home for two games against Swift Current this weekend. They play at 3 p.m. on Saturday and then again on Sunday at noon.