One weekend of regular season hockey in and the Grand Forks Border Bruins have given their fans a mixed bag of things to cheer about, this early in the season. The team replicated their one-win, two-loss exhibition record between Sept. 13 and 15, notching six goals while conceding 15 over three games.
“Each game, you’re going to get either some really good hockey or you’re going to get some really questionable hockey,” head coach John Clewlow said Friday about the exhibition record, before the team’s first regular season game away in Castlegar, which ended 7-3 for the home team.
The Border Bruins went on to win 4-3 in overtime on Saturday at home against Beaver Valley before losing 4-1 on Sunday in Spokane, where the team played with a short bench due to injuries and paperwork hangups.
The wild scoring of exhibition was brought into check in the team’s first competitive games, though, after being outscored 21 to 13 in their three trial games. Despite the losses, Border Bruins goaltender Shane Zilka shone over the weekend, earning him Team MVP of the Week. Zilka made 47 saves on 50 shots against Spokane on Sunday.
Clewlow said that he’s seen older players already emerge as leaders in the dressing room and rookies impress on-ice.
Though he didn’t play over the weekend, Border Bruins forward Isaiah Anderson has impressed his coach.
“I don’t know how long he’ll be in this league before he gets called up in the future,” Clewlow said of his number 27. “I think he’ll be something to watch out for.”
Eighteen-year-old Jordan DeGouw has also caught his Clewlow’s attention. the former Creston Valley Thunder Cat has already doubled his goal tally from last year (one in 33 games), after having played just three games this season.
“The season-long grind starts now to make the playoffs and win a championship,” Clewlow said Friday. So [we’ve got to] start putting our heads down right now and going to work.”
The Border Bruins travel to Osoyoos on Friday before continuing on to Summerland to face the Steam on Saturday, Sept. 21.