A longstanding and often bitter rivalry began anew when the Estevan Bruins and Weyburn Red Wings met for the first time in the 2018-19 season on Saturday, December 15. Things started out tightly contested between the two. In the final frame of regulation, however, the Bruins pulled away.
Michael McChesney and Turner Ripplinger scored twice each, and Grant Boldt stopped 26 of 28 shots as the Bruins pumped six goals past the Red Wings in the third in a decisive 8-2 win. Cody Levesque stopped 37 of 45 shots in the loss.
The Bruins started strong in the first period with a power play goal from Turner Ripplinger and an even strength tally from Ryder Pierson. But the Red Wings made the most of their power play opportunities in the second, knotting the score with goals from Jordan Kazymyra and Jacob Piller.
With Kolton Leslie ejected for a crosschecking major and TJ Irey done for the game with a leg injury, the Bruins were reduced to 10 forwards. Nonetheless, in the third the floodgates opened for them.
Tristyn DeRoose started it off, getting a couple of whacks at a wrap-around before stuffing it past Levesque for his fourth of the year. McChesney kept it going, sniping his 16th over Levesque’s glove after Bryce Platt dangled his way into the slot and left the puck behind for him.
At that point, the game was still up for grabs if the Red Wings could mount a quick counter. Devan Harrison put paid to those thoughts, however, working a perfect odd-man rush with McChesney and wiring a one-timer home for his first as a Bruin.
Then the rout was on. Another three-on-two rush led to Jake Heerspink’s eighth of the year.
Then a frustrated Red Wings team began to take penalties of their own. With Piller serving a double minor for spearing, Ripplinger knocked home his second of the game. During the celebration, Mkyllan Couture took down Johnny Witzke, sending Estevan to a 5-on-3 on which McChesney made good for his second tally.
The win gives Estevan the early 1-0 lead on their Highway 39 rivals in the first of what will be ten games on the year. Estevan and Weyburn next play on December 30. The Red Wings are now headed to the Christmas break while the Bruins wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule on Tuesday, December 18 against Yorkton.
Michael McChesney’s two goals mark his first two-goal game since the game against the Humboldt Broncos on October 6. The assist gave him his first three-point game since he put up three assists against Melfort on October 27.
Turner Ripplinger and Jake Heerspink both posted four-point nights. Heerspink’s was the first of his career. He moves into first among Bruins defensemen with 26 points in 34 games.
Grant Boldt won his eighth game of the year, posting a .928 save percentage in the win. He improves to 8-9 on the year with a 2.55 GAA, which ranks sixth in the SJHL.