Over 1800 fans piled into Affinity Place for the final game of the Estevan Bruins 2018-19 regular season. When the dust settled on the game against the Weyburn Red Wings on Saturday, March 2, over 1800 Bruins fans went home happy.
Isaiah Thomas scored twice and Bryce Platt, Michael McChesney, and Will Koop also scored as the Bruins limited the Red Wings to just 19 shots. Jordan Kazymyra, Connor Pyne, and Sean Olson replied for the Red Wings, who got 35 saves on 39 shots from Cody Levesque.
Unlike the previous night where the Bruins struck just 1:06 into the game, the scoring didn't start until there were mere seconds remaining in the first. Just like the previous night, however, Koop began the scoring, taking a give-and-go feed from Tyson Manz and sneaking it through Levesque's five-hole for the opening goal.
The Bruins went the entirety of the Friday night game in Weyburn without any penalties but took five in this contest, and three minutes into the second the Wings made them pay for it, with Olson sniping his 18th of the year past Grant Boldt on a five-on-three advantage.
Platt restored the Bruins advantage off good cycle work by linemates Tanner Manz and Turner Ripplinger. After separating himself from the pack at the top of the right circle, Platt unleashed his wrist shot, rifling home goal number 21 on the season.
Ripplinger's night wasn't done offensively, as he made a drop pass to Thomas, who sent another five-hole shot past a screeened Levesque to give the Bruins some breathing room. McChesney gave them a little more, pursuing his own rebound to the goalmouth and chipping it past Levesque from a tough angle to push the Bruins lead to 4-1.
The Red Wings showed some push-back, getting back within one late on goals by Pyne and Kazymyra, with Kazymyra's coming with the net empty with just under a minute. Weyburn looked to be pressing for the tying goal, but their next rush was stopped cold by an alert defensive stick from Kade McMillen, who passed up a shot at the empty net to give it to Thomas. Thomas made sure to gain the red line and get a step on Eric Soar of the Red Wings before potting his tenth of the year into the open cage.
The win wraps up the Bruins regular season. They will finish first in the Viterra Division, and therefore hold third place in the standings. As of this writing, their most likely playoff opponent is the Humboldt Broncos.
The Bruins finish the season series against the Weyburn Red Wings 8-2. They outscored them 54-27 and put up forty shots or more in all but one of the ten games.
Michael McChesney finished the year with a career-best 61 points. He is one of four eligible Estevan Bruins skaters at or over a point per game through the regular season. Will Koop, Bryce Platt, and Turner Ripplinger are the others.
Johnny Witzke finished second among all SJHL defensemen in goals with 12. His 39 points were also a career high.
The Bruins are primed to play the Humboldt Broncos in the first round of the SJHL playoffs. The regular season will conclude on Tuesday, March 5. Check back on Monday for a series preview between the Bruins and Broncos.