The Estevan Bruins made their fans and the Salvation Army happy midway through the second period of their Teddy Bear toss game against the Humboldt Broncos on Thursday, November 22. Unfortunately, that was the high point of the game for the home side.
Derek Patter and Drew Warkentine scored twice each, with Brayden Camrud adding another and Dane Dow made 42 saves as the Bruins dropped a 5-1 decision on home ice. Isaiah Thomas scored the lone goal for Estevan.
“I really believe it was when they scored their fourth goal,” said Bruins head coach and GM Chris Lewgood of the moment the tide turned. “I thought we’d played pretty good hockey up to that point despite being down 4-1. At that point, the momentum completely shifted and our guys seemed to lose focus and start feeling sorry for themselves. We lost sight of the big picture.”
As has been the case of late, a struggling power play was a huge part of the story for the Bruins. They went 0-for-5 on the man advantage, and immediately after their first power play ended, Patter came out of the penalty box and sniped his sixth of the campaign over the shoulder of Grant Boldt.
The Broncos added another before the first period ended, but Bruins fans at last got to unleash their teddy bear arsenal onto the ice early in the second. A goalmouth scramble saw TJ Irey and Thomas both get whacks at it, but it was Thomas who finally knocked it over the line.
“I took a look at the goalie and realized he wasn’t in a good position to make a save,” Thomas said, “so I put anything I could on it, and luckily it went in.”
“As much as it hurt to lose,” Thomas added of the teddy bear toss, “that was a fun part of the game. It was fun to watch them come on to the ice and clean it up with the boys.”
Fun wasn’t on the agenda for the rest of the night for Bruins fans, however, as Warkentine added another late in the second, fighting his way to the front of the net from the corner and tucking in a backhand.
The fourth goal that Lewgood pointed to as the turning point came early in the third on another failed power play. A pass intended for Johnny Witzke took an awkward bounce off the zamboni doors and sent Patter away on a 2-on-1. Patter held onto the puck and wired it upstairs on a near action replay of his first goal.
Camrud added his goal on the power play late, relishing the jeers of Bruins fans and putting the final nail in the coffin. The Bruins dropped their fourth straight against Humboldt and suffered a series sweep.
The Bruins will take a weekend to regroup and then go on the road on a northern road swing beginning on Tuesday, November 27 in Nipawin.
Isaiah Thomas’s goal was his first since October 20 against the Melfort Mustangs and his first non-empty-net goal since September 24 against Kindersley. He sits first in Bruins rookie scoring with 16 points in 29 games.
The Bruins played their final game of the first half, and end the first half with a sub-.500 record of 13-15-1. They will not play the Humboldt Broncos or Kindersley Klippers in the second half, and will only play La Ronge once. They have just one more major road trip remaining.
Derek Patter has scored three goals in three games on the season against the Bruins. Brayden Camrud has scored four goals and added six assists in the season sweep.