Grand Forks Border Bruins defenceman Zach Salyn battles for a puck on Friday against the Revelstoke Grizzlies. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Grand Forks Border Bruins drop both weekend games

Bad luck and big saves lead to Bruins’ Friday loss

Bad luck and big-time goaltending stymied the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday night, when they hosted the Revelstoke Grizzlies at the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena.

A three-goal second period form Grand Forks meant that the Border Bruins took a 3-1 lead into the third. But the final frame proved to be a defensive slog for the black and gold. The hometown team struggled to find sustained pressure around Revelstoke’s net. The visitors shut down the Border Bruins’ defensive zone breakouts over and over again. Eventually, Grand Forks gave into the pressure, conceding two goals in quick succession with just over half a period to play.

The Border Bruins came close to retaking the lead with seven minutes to play. A wrist shot from a sharp angle deflected off a defenceman before sneaking behind Grizzlies goalie Noah Desouza’s back, glancing off the crossbar and tumbling into the opposite corner.

Revelstoke turned that crossbar luck around at the other end of the rink just a few minutes later, when captain Raymond Speerbrecker rang in a shot off the goal frame.

Down 4-3, Grand Forks mustered a final flurry of attempts on goal, but were denied by a flash of Desouza’s outstretched right pad, followed by backstroke move with the right arm to deny the rebound.

Saturday night proved no more fruitful for the Border Bruins, who travelled to Nelson to play a team that has struggled to close out games this season, having dropped a divison-high three games in overtime already this season.

But the Leafs, who had only won their first game of the season the night before, took the Border Bruins the distance, finding themselves tied at 2-2 after 60 minutes of play.

The Border Bruins couldn’t hold on in overtime though, conceding a goal to Nelson forward Shawn Grobowsky halfway through the extra frame. Grand Forks was outshot for the seventh time this season, as Nelson fired 39 shots of the Border Bruins’ net, compared to just 20 going the opposite way.

Grand Forks now sits second-last in the Neil Murdoch Division of the KIJHL after nine games played.

The Border Bruins settle in for a four-game homestand next weekend, when they face Creston Valley on Friday before a Nelson Leafs rematch on Saturday night in Grand Forks.

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