In a series full of firsts for both teams, the Estevan Bruins and Nipawin Hawks reached a new milestone on Sunday, April 15. For the first time in the playoffs, the two teams will play a series tied at one after two games.
Nipawin got two goals each from Logan Casavant and Adam Beckman, and Declan Hobbs made 23 saves as the Hawks avenged their game one loss and took game two by a 4-1 count. Arthur Miller scored Estevan’s only goal.
As in game one, the Hawks got off to a roaring start thanks to a special teams goal, this time shorthanded. Brandan Arnold tore down the left wing into the Bruins zone and created a partial breakaway. Bo Didur stopped his initial shot, one of his 33 saves, but Cassavant followed up and snuck the rebound past him for the early lead.
That lead lasted through the first period and into a penalty-filled second. There were nine minor penalties called in the middle frame, resulting in plenty of four-on-four. During one such stretch, young Beckman stormed through the neutral zone and, using the two Bruins defenders as a screen, ripped a shot low and hard past Didur for the two-goal lead.
The Bruins managed to play some five-on-five for a bit in the third, despite nine more minor penalties, and that was when they struck back. After Kade McMillen poked the puck ahead to Kaelan Holt, Holt worked a give-and-go with Miller, hitting him in the open slot and allowing the Bruins sniper to pull it to the backhand and tuck it past Hobbs.
That, however, was as close as the Bruins got. Off a broken play out of the corner, Beckman put the puck to the net, stuck with it, and beat Didur with a backhander of his own. The Bruins couldn’t mount much of an attack late as Nipawin continued to stifle them, and Cassavant put the game out of reach with an empty-net tally.
The Bruins earned a split in Nipawin thanks to game one’s victory and now head back to Estevan even in the series at one. Game three begins on Tuesday, April 17 at Affinity Place at 7:30 PM.
The two teams combined for 24 minor penalties without one major or ten-minute misconduct. They also combined for nine different sessions of four-on-four.
Estevan gave up a two-game total of 80 shots on goal. They took just 57 shots themselves.
Michael McChesney’s playoff-long point streak came to an end in this game. He is now tied for second in playoff scoring after Brandan Arnold’s assist moved him into sole possession of first.
Declan Hobbs is now unbeaten in postseason games following a loss and has not lost two in a row since March 2 and 3 to the Melfort Mustangs.