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Getzlaf's first SJHL goal lifts Estevan Bruins to big win

The Estevan Bruins split weekend games with the Melfort Mustangs.
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Cade Kennedy (23) and the Estevan Bruins defeated Melfort on Saturday night.

ESTEVAN - Holdin Getzlaf picked a great time to score his first goal in the SJHL.

The second-year defenceman scored the winner with 6:23 to play in the third period to lift the host Estevan Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Melfort Mustangs on Saturday night at Affinity Place. Getzlaf took a pass from Zach Burfoot and fired a heavy shot past Mustangs' goaltender James Venne. An exuberant Getzlaf celebrated with his teammates on the ice and on the bench after the goal.

"Someone on their team bobbled the puck. I saw Keagon Little skate up, pass the puck to Burfoot, and then I just tried to get up as far as I could [in the offensive zone]. He set me up perfectly on a platter and I just shot it, and it went in, thank God," said Getzlaf, whose mother and girlfriend were in attendance, making the moment even more special.

"Give him credit. He one-timed it, shot it right away and it was a big goal for us," said head coach and GM Jason Tatarnic.

The win ended the Bruins' three-game losing streak.

The two teams were scoreless after the first period. Zac Somers scored on a Melfort power play 4:27 into the second period to open the scoring, but Ilia Chmelevski responded for the Bruins just over seven minutes later with the Bruins holding the man advantage.

Following Getzlaf's goal, the Bruins clamped down on the Mustangs, limiting their time in the offensive zone and not allowing a shot on goal after Melfort pulled Venne with a minute to play. Felix Allard finished the scoring for the Bruins with an empty-net goal.

"We knew what we had to do to keep the puck in front of us, and not to allow any entries into the offensive zone," said Tatarnic. 

Venne made 18 saves for Melfort, while Cam Hrdlicka stopped 17 shots for the Bruins.

The night before, the Mustangs edged the Bruins 1-0. Somers had the Mustangs' lone goal, scoring on a two-man advantage midway through the second period.

Both teams had a goal disallowed. The Bruins' waived-off marker came late in the third.

"I thought we outplayed them yesterday," Tatarnic said after Saturday's game. "I thought we were the better team. There was an unfortunate call at the end and when I talked to the league, they thought that goal should have counted.

"I'm not blaming the referee. We had a chance to tie the game earlier. It's a fast game, he has to make a decision right away. Unfortunately for our refs, they don't have the luxury of replays like other guys do. It's a tough job."

Getzlaf added he thought the Bruins deserved a better fate on Friday night.

The Bruins were also blanked on eight power-play opportunities.

Hrdlicka had 22 saves for Estevan, while Venne made 36 saves for Melfort.

The Bruins (16-18-1-2) sit in a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Weyburn Red Wings, but Weyburn has a game in hand. The fifth to ninth place teams are separated by one point.

The Bruins will visit the Notre Dame Hounds on Jan. 24 in Wilcox, and then they will host the Humboldt Broncos on Jan. 26 and 27. The home games start at 7 p.m.