Chad Bates Takes the Winning Shot on Tuesday Against the Leafs: (Peter Kalasz:

Chad Bates Takes the Winning Shot on Tuesday Against the Leafs: (Peter Kalasz:

Bruins Remain at Top of Division Despite Tough Weekend Road Trip

Kevin McKinnon

Grand Forks Border Bruins

Grand Forks, January 18, 2023 – The Border Bruins have played three games since last week’s report, starting with a home game against the Nelson Leafs last Tuesday.

Although the Bruins outshot the Leafs 16-8 in the first period, the lone goal of the frame was scored for Nelson by Owen McFarlane on a pass to the slot from behind the net setup by Crae Dawson and Dawson Davis. The Bruins had a couple of breakaway attempts, but Frederick Larochelle had a solid period in net for the Leafs stopping all 16 Bruin shots.

Late in the second, Jonah Smith tied the game after carrying the puck up the left side to the hash marks, flipping the puck past a Nelson defender and the goaltender for his 20th goal of the season.

Both goaltenders continued to play an excellent game, with Ewan Soutar in net for the third consecutive start for the Bruins. Chad Bates made a mirror-image repeat of Jonah Smith’s second period goal early in the third, coming up the right side to the hash marks, this time catching Larochelle with a low shot into the net. Ten Leafs shots against Soutar resulted in ten saves by the netminder, and the final score of 2-1 extended the Bruins winning streak against the Leafs to 5 since the beginning of October.

The Bruins took to the road last weekend to complete the series against the North Okanagan (Doug Birks) division against the top two teams in that division.

On Friday night, the Bruins got off to a great quick start against the Revelstoke Grizzlies as Jonah Smith registered a pair of first period goals for his 21st and 22nd of the season.

The Grizzlies dominated the second period, picking up a pair of goals within a 64-second span midway through the period from Carter Bettenson and David Coyle. The Grizzlies outshot the Bruins 22-6 in the frame.

Although the shots were even at 10 apiece in the third, the scoring continued to be all Revelstoke as Logan McLeod and Kurtis Kinoshita logged a pair of even strength goals and Owen Chamberland connected with the Bruins’ empty net with 1:22 left in the period. A great start turned into a tough finish, with the Grizzlies scoring 5 in a row to take the win 5-2.

On Saturday night, the Bruins were in Sicamous to take on the Birks’ second-place Eagles, the first meeting of these two teams since February 1, 2020. The Eagles outshot the Bruins 12-6 in the first period and Daniel Kroon scored one on Ethan Shebansky for the lead going into the first intermission.

Late in the second, Jonah Smith continued his scoring streak for the week, defeating Gage Reimer on a play from Spencer Horning to tie the game 1-1.

Despite a slight edge in shots for the Bruins in the third period, the only scoring was from the Eagles with another from Daniel Kroon followed 25 seconds later by Warren Roberts-Lee. The final score in Sicamous was 3-1 Eagles.

Meanwhile, Nelson picked up a pair of wins and Beaver Valley added one, so the battle for top spot in the Neil Murdoch division has tightened up. The Bruins are still up by 3 points over the Leafs and five over the Nitehawks, but those teams will face each other midweek with an important two points on the line.

The Bruins play two at home this weekend, hosting the Kelowna Chiefs on Friday and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Saturday, with a road game in Nelson coming up next Tuesday to wrap up a busy January schedule.

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