The Border Bruins are back on track after a pair of home wins over Thanksgiving weekend. The Bruins beat North Okanagan 4-2 on Saturday and Fernie 3-2 on Friday.The wins halted a streak where the Bruins won just one of seven games, after winning their first three. The wins are also the teams’ first this year against teams not named the Spokane Braves.Head coach Nick Deschenes was pleased with the all around effort of the Bruins over the weekend. “We competed hard all weekend,” he said. “As a group, we kept the game in check. We stuck to the system and our style of play. As a young group, you’re more than likely to put your best foot forward at home. It’s nice to be at home and be comfortable.”Whether it was a big advantage to play teams from out of the tough Neil Murdoch division, Deschenes was hesitant to say.“Fernie and North Okanagan are both good teams,” he said. “Fernie Ghostriders went to the final last year and have just two losses this year. Maybe it’s a bit of a psychological advantage, but you still have to play.”
After getting thumped 6-2 in Castlegar on Tuesday, Deschenes thought the team responded well after a tough couple of practices.
“After two road games where we didn’t perform as well as we could have, it’s nice to get back on track,” said Deschenes. “We had some meetings. We had some team-building exercises. It’s nice to see it pay-off and the group gelling.”
Another key to the Bruins’ strong weekend was a balanced attack with contributions from a couple of lines.
“Our team has some players capable of scoring, and they haven’t been scoring as much as they like,” said Deschenes. “It’s really a confidence thing. Once one goes in, then two go in, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ One of the keys to us becoming a contender is our younger players realizing they can contribute offensively.”
The Bruins have just one game this weekend, against the KIJHL’s top team, Nelson. The Leafs are the last remaining unbeaten team in the league with an 8-0-1-1 record for 18 points.
“It’s a good little one game weekend challenge for us,” said Deschenes. “We’re going to work on it in practice and go over video as much as we can. Hopefully, we put our best foot forward. We had some really good support over the weekend, so I expect it’ll be a sold out barn against Nelson.”
GF 4 North Okanagan 2Bruins forward Mitchell Dolman was the star on Saturday, scoring two goals for GF in the third period including the game winner and an insurance marker.Lincoln Lane opened up the scoring for Grand Forks at 18:38 of the first period with an unassisted marker.Logan Mostat tied the game for North Oke two minutes later.The Knights went up 2-1 at 12:23 of the second when Paul Biegel found the back of the net for the squad from Sicamous.Franco Calapaolo tied the game at 2 apiece with a goal at 4:44 of the second, assisted by Dolman and Corey Munro.Dolman’s first goal, the game-winner, went at 16:22 of the third period, assisted by Tucker Brown and Lane.The second one, an empty netter, was scored with just three seconds left in the game. Assisted on the goal were Jackson Purvis and Max Newton.Dominic Stadnyk picked up the win between the pipes for the Bruins, stopping 39 of 41 Knight shots.GF 3 Fernie 2On Friday, Grand Forks pushed out to a 3-0 start against the visitors from Fernie. Scoring for the Bears were Max Newton (assisted by Reid Robertson and Lane), Robertson (Brown and Dolman) and Connor Gross (Purvis).The Ghost Riders scored a pair late in the second, from Dylan Robertson and Kurtis Bond, but couldn’t even the game up. Stadynk got the win in net for GF with 26 saves.Castlegar 6 GF 2On Tuesday, the Border Bruins were crushed 6-2 by the defending KIJHL champion Rebels in Castlegar. The Rebs were led by a pair each from veterans Diego Bartlett and Darren Medieros.Scoring for GF were Max Newton, with a power play marker in the second period, and Dolman with a late third period goal.