New faces alone weren’t enough to turn the Border Bruins’ season around last weekend, when the Bears played with a slightly revamped lineup.
Joining the team last week, Ollie Morberg comes to the Bruins from the Osoyoos Coyotes and will wear #13. Twenty-year-old Morberg played 20 games for the Kimberley Dynamiters in the 2019-20 season before being traded to Osoyoos.
He played three games in last year’s shortened season which included games against both the Bruins and Leafs. In addition, a trade with the Kelowna Chiefs saw Captain Nick Morin move to the Okanagan while Kelowna native Matteus Reis was added to the Bruins’ roster. Reis has played for both the North Okanagan Knights and Kelowna Chiefs in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, with three goals and two assists in 11 games this season for the Chiefs. The 19-year-old forward will wear #11 as a Bruin.
Last Friday’s game against the Nelson Leafs nearly ended in a tie. Nearing the end of a tense third period, the Bruins were 21 seconds away from the elusive first point of the season.
The Leafs opened the scoring late in the first period, with Lane Goodwin beating Justin Dueck, but the Bruins responded midway through the second when Brydon Bell evened the game. Battling hard while being out-shot by a wide margin, the Bruins held the Leafs tied at 1 through most of the third period, but at 19:39 Rhett Hamilton took the possibility of overtime away with a goal scored on the Leafs’ 54th shot of the game.
Justin Dueck was in net for the Bruins, stopping 52 of 54 shots for a save percentage of 96.2, boosting his season percentage to 90.6.
On Saturday night, Ethan Shebansky had the start in net for the Bruins. The Fernie Ghostriders were in town following a Friday night win in Castlegar against the Rebels. Fernie was first on the scoreboard midway through the first period when four Bruins converged on Tanner Chapman who was able to drop the puck back to Kyle Klein who took the shot unchallenged. Two more quick goals in the middle of the second (Fournier, MacDuff) coupled with both an early and late goal in the third (Gordon, Hennesey) gave the Ghostriders a solid win 5-0 while out-shooting the Bruins 41-20.
The Bruins’ penalty kill continues to be effective, with the team improving from fourth to second in the league week-on-week and keeping the Leafs the Riders a combined 0-for-9 through two games.
The Bears are on the road mid-week with a trip to Beaver Valley to face the Nitehawks on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. They will then host the Castlegar Rebels at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, with a trip to Nelson to play the Leafs again on Saturday night.