Thanks to a four-point night from forward Elvis Slack on Saturday, the Grand Forks Border Bruins cut their recent losing streak short and put in an energetic performance in front of the hometown crowd at the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena to take the first of two weekend wins for the bears.
Slack’s first goal in Saturday’s game against the Castelgar Rebels came just over a minute into the first period and was assisted by Izaiah Anderson and the Border Bruins points leader, Nathan Cohen-Wallis, (much to the delight of several young fans seated under the press box with a “Go Co-Ho!” sign).
Slack’s second, just six minutes later, was assisted by team newcomer Syd Ashmead.
Ashmead and fellow Albertan Wyatt Gelinas arrived in Grand Forks last week in a trade that sent forward Jake Huculak back to the Revelstoke Grizzlies. Hukulak came to Grand Forks in the 2018/19 season but played five games with Revelstoke then as well, before returning to the Boundary.
Both newcomers Ashmead and Gelinas ingratiated themselves quickly with Border Bruins fans though. Gelinas notched the game-winning goal in Saturday’s game against the Castlegar Rebels, scoring just seconds after the visitors tied the game in the first minute of the third to make it 3-3, while Ashmead finished the game with an assist.
On Sunday, the Border Bruins continued their dominant display, putting seven shots by Golden goalie Brandon Weare, who still managed to turn aside 40 shots, en-route to a 7-4 victory.
Though the Border Bruins went down by two goals in the first period, Cohen-Wallis’s tallied with 11 seconds to play in the frame and shifted the momentum into his team’s favour going into the second. Both Ashmead and Gelinas notched two assists in the victory, while captain Liam Stalwick’s two-goal, one-assist display earned him the first star of the game.
The weekend’s convincing performances by the Border Bruins showed a team that had more energy in its legs and a greater desire to get shots through to the opposition’s net, as Grand Forks outshot their opposition in four games. The wins also lift the Bruins off the bottom of the Neil Murdoch Division standings. Though they’re still tied on points with last-place Castlegar, Grand Forks has played one game fewer, thanks to a cancellation earlier this month.
The Border Bruins hit the road next weekend, facing the Columbia Valley Rockies in Invermere on Friday before heading for a rematch with the Golden Rockets on Saturday.