These bears aren’t all bad news

While it might not currently reflect in the standings, this year's Grand Forks Border Bruins squad is better than last year's.

The Grand Forks Border Bruins beat the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Saturday night by a final of 3-0.

It was only the team’s second win of the 2012/13 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League campaign – it currently has two wins, 18 losses, no ties and two overtime losses.

I recently asked head coach and GM Nick Deschenes how different this year’s squad is from last year’s and he said the difference is night and day, even though I might be called a homer, I have to agree.

Besides the fact the team has surpassed the previous season’s total of one win, the team is playing better hockey.

It might not be reflected in the win loss column but there were a lot of blowouts last year, with a fair share of double-digit margins of victory for the opposition.

While there have been some lopsided losses so far in 2012/13, the opposition hasn’t cracked double-digit goals in a single game against the Border Bruins. It’s easy to take shots at the team given its recent record but if you really look closely at the product on the ice, you can see a marked improvement over last year. The team is sustaining pressure on the power play, where as last year, it had trouble setting up with the man advantage on many occasions.

While they are still giving up too many shots for my liking in some games, the instances are fewer.

The leading scorer on last year’s team had 25 points in 49 games and this year, the team’s leading scorers, Connor Gross and Jackson Purvis, have 15 points through 18 and 20 games respectively, and are on pace to surpass last year’s leading point-getter.

Believe it or not, the goaltending has been very good, despite the team’s record, with Robert Dunsmuir and Dominic Stadnyk keeping the team in most of its games.

Given the team’s past performance, it might be easy to take shots at the Border Bruins but having caught a majority of the team’s home games the past three seasons, there seems to be some solid groundwork being laid.

It starts with the little things.

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