A young Estevan Bears team that has been finding its footing on the 18U AAA hockey circuit is in for a tough test tonight.

The 3-6-4 Bears are on a two-game win streak and four-game point streak as they meet the Pat Canadians for Tuesday tilt in Regina.

Regina is the only team in the SMAAAHL without a regulation loss. Their 9-0-1 record leads the standings.

Bears Head Coach and General Manager Jeff Smith said 5-1 and 6-3 wins over the Trojans in Tisdale has given them a boost.

"Our first game on Saturday, we put a full 60 minutes in and the team started to gel really well. And then on Sunday we followed up with the same thing, so we had a real solid two-game swing up in Tisdale, which was really needed to give the confidence back to the boys."

It's the Bears' second season in the league, following a 2-3-1 showing in the abbreviated 2020-21 campaign.

Smith said the confidence has been "fragile" with the young team.

"It's kind of a roller coaster right now. With these two wins, and the last four games, getting a point in each one, the work ethic and the guys are starting to buy into the program here a little bit more. They're starting to come around, and it's starting to build. So it's good to see these young kids grow into mature players."

Smith noted a couple players have really stood out recently.

Rookie forward Cade Cole scored on the power play in both weekend games and has three goals and four points in his last five.

"Cole... has really grown since he's joined the club. He's continually worked hard in practice and in games and it's showing in games with his point production and just the way he's playing."

Boston Harkness, a right-shot defenceman in his second season with the Bears, has been leading the way on the blue line with a goal and eight points in 13 contests.

"He's just been our anchor; he's been the go-to guy," Smith said. "He's definitely grown over the summer into the player that we expected him to be."

Smith said Estevan needs to focus on their own game if they're going to stimy Regina.

"The key against Regina is just playing hard and moving our feet. We have to not so much worry about them as we have to worry about ourselves and play the system, play our game, just bang bodies and get pucks to the net. They have a really good goalie, they've got solid 'D,' and they have a high-powered offence. So we have to play a full 60 minutes of shutdown defensive hockey and score on the opportunities we do get."

Kelton Pyne and Ewan Souter have split duties evenly in the Regina crease through 10 games this season. Pyne, who played for Estevan last season, is 5-0-0 with a .922 save percentage. Souter is 4-0-1 with a .907 save percentage.

Estevan's on their third game in three days, but it's a different story for Regina. The Pat Canadians' last game was Thursday (a 3-2 overtime win over the Saskatoon Contacts). That was their only game since October 16.

Smith doesn't expect the differences in their schedules will make much of a difference.

"These kids are so young that they could probably play three games in three days and they'll bounce right back. If anything, I think it'll help our team just because they're fresh, they're game ready."

Smith added that he expects the Pats to also be well prepared.

"I know their coach really well and he has them pumped and primed and ready to go. It'll be a good matchup tonight."

Estevan-native Jackson Miller will get the start in the Estevan net. The sophomore is 1-7-0 with a 3.93 goals-against average and .887 save percentage. Puck drop is 7:45 p.m. at Co-operators Arena #6.