ESTEVAN - The top two teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) met for a weekend doubleheader at Affinity Place in Estevan, so it’s not a surprise that each team came away with a victory.
But how the games played out might have caught some people off guard.
The Estevan Bruins defeated the Humboldt Broncos 6-2 on Saturday night, while Humboldt won 4-2 in Estevan on Sunday afternoon.
Estevan raced out to an early 3-0 lead on Saturday, with Billy Sowa, Caelan Fitzpatrick and Matt Millete scoring in the opening nine minutes. The goals for Sowa and Millette were their first in the SJHL.
Matthew Perkins tallied for the Broncos with 2:35 to play in the second period.
Fitzpatrick scored 4:25 into the third period to restore the three-goal advantage, and Mark Rumsey and Eric Pearce padded the lead. Pearce was in his first game for Estevan after being let go by the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
Rhett Gibson scored 26 seconds after Pearce’s goal to finish the scoring.
The opening 15 minutes featured plenty of free-flowing hockey and few stoppages, outside of the goals. But the game turned chippy, with the two teams combining for 163 penalty minutes.
Boston Bilous made 29 saves for Estevan. Rayce Ramsay had 19 saves on 25 shots for Humboldt, while Jace Hunter stopped all four shots he faced.
The loss ended the Broncos eight-game winning streak.
Sunday’s game saw the Broncos jump out to a quick 3-0 lead on goals by Noah Barlage, Rhett Gibson and Perkins in the game’s opening eight minutes. The Bruins thought they had scored shortly after Barlage’s tally, but the Estevan marker was called back because of a high stick. Gibson scored moments later.
Brandon Ambrozik scored 5:46 into the second period for Estevan, and Dayton Deics added a shorthanded goal 5:57 into the third to make the game interesting.
Perkins scored into an empty net with four seconds to play to round out the scoring.
Boston Bilous was pulled after the third Humboldt goal, but returned to the net a couple of minutes later. He finished with 18 saves on 21 shots. Local product Jackson Miller, called up from the Estevan Eclipse Downhole Solutions U18 AAA Bears, stopped both shots he faced in his SJHL debut.
Ramsay stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced.
The loss ended the Bruins’ six-game winning streak.
Estevan (12-4-0-1) will face the Melville Millionaires Tuesday night at Affinity Place, starting at 7:30 p.m. Humboldt (15-5) will return to the ice Friday night when they visit the La Ronge Ice Wolves.