The Estevan Bears have taken a step forward this season in the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League, and a lot of that is thanks to a local product.

Estevan's Carter Onrait had seven points across a pair of 6-1 wins over the Yorkton Maulers on Saturday and Sunday.

Now the Bears, who are gunning for their first playoff appearance since joining the league for the 2020-21 season, have the fifth-best points percentage of 12 teams, thanks to a 7-4-2 record.

Onrait's 17 points (eight goals and nine assists) is tied for first in the league, and Bears head coach Ryan Pilon said the 17-year-old has really led by example.

"Obviously, the points are coming in for him right now, but he is just playing the right way, doing the little things that are needed to make him successful. Using his speed, using his strength. And like I said, leading by example so that some of our younger guys see what it takes to be successful in this league."

The Bears boast a balanced scoring threat. Sixteen-year-old rookie Jase McNichol is tied with Onrait in scoring, and five players have at least 11 points in 13 games. Eleven players are averaging at least half a point per game.

Pilon said they're getting contributions from all skaters and both goalies.

"Regardless of the time of the game we are trying to be the hardest working team night in and night out. And I think our players are doing that. We’ve been very proud of them that way.”

Pilon added that they're looking at each matchup as a way to rise further in the standings.

"We’re working to get better every day, taking each game at a time and knowing that every game is a possible chance for a win. And that’s what we are striving for."

Estevan's next game is Wednesday night when they host the 3-5-1 Notre Dame Hounds at Affinity Place.

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