The Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings entered Saturday night's game against the Estevan Bruins with the 6th seed in the SJHL playoffs secured. Weyburn also had the chance to sweep the season series with their Highway 39 rivals, who they shut out 4-0 the night before. 

The game would be a back-and-forth battle between two teams, with pride on the line for both teams. It would take a goal late in the third period to be the difference, with Estevan coming out on top 5-4. 

"For a game that didn't have any bearing for us in the standings, I thought our guts came out and competed well, and you know, did a lot of good things and we'll take the positives out of it," Red Wings head coach Cody Mapes said after the game.

Weyburn had a few veteran players resting in the final game of the regular season, with captain Max Monette, defenceman Nick Kovacs, and goaltender Dazza Mitchell all watching from the press box. The move did allow for the Red Wings to get a look at two prospects, though, with Connor Bear and Sutton Verot drawing into the lineup. 

Bear plays with the U18 AAA Warman Wildcats, where he has picked up 23 points in 34 games. Verot, the son of former Weyburn Red Wing Darcy Verot, skates with the U18 AAA Notre Dame Hounds, where he had 20 points in 39 games. 

The chance for the season series sweep, which would be the first time it had happened in recent memory, was also something in the back of the mind for Mapes, but not something the Red Wings were dwelling on. 

"It was something that we knew, something we used for a little motivation, but at the end of the day, it was not the goal," Mapes said. "In the big picture, we just want to make sure that we played the right way and our habits were good."

The game started with Estevan taking a quick lead, with a pair of goals in the first half of the opening period. Felix Allard opened the scoring 5:50 into the night, and Cade Kennedy followed up with a goal at 9:11 of the first to make it 2-0. Then, the Red Wings came roaring back.

Jerome Maharaj netted his 20th goal of the season with 4:41 to play in the first period, assisted by Jaxson Ruthven. Then, with 36 seconds to go, Ruthven scored with Maharaj assisting. The goal was Ruthven's 16th of the campaign

Weyburn then took the lead 52 seconds into the period when Lucas Schmid scored his sixth of the season. Sam Callahan had the lone assist. 

The Bruins responded with a goal with 9 minutes to go in the second to tie things up, as Owen Barrow got the puck past Angelo Zol. Then, Dillon Jackson scored 26 seconds later to give Estevan a 4-3 lead. 

It wouldn't take long for the game to become tied again, though, as Ruthven scored on the power play with 6:37 remaining in the middle frame. Tyler Teasdale and Colin Doherty assisted his second of the night. 

In the third period, the goaltenders were doing everything they could to help guide their team to the win, with a number of stellar saves at both ends. Ilia Chmelevski, though, would be able to sneak one past Zol with 4:26 to go in regulation, giving the Bruins the win. 

The Red Wings will now prepare for the postseason, where they will play the Humboldt Broncos in the first round of the playoffs. 

"We've won in their rink, which is good," Mapes commented on their first-round opponent. "They're a very skilled, fast team, and it'll be a good challenge for our guys, and we expect our guys to be able to skate with them and compete. We've come a long way here over the last two months, and so we're excited for the challenge."

The Red Wings will open the playoff series with the Broncos in Humboldt on Friday. The rest of the schedule for the series has yet to be announced.