2022 centennial estevan bruins

Road to the 2022 Centennial Cup: Estevan Bruins

The tournament hosts knew they had a spot at Canada’s National Junior A Championship, but that wasn’t good enough – they kicked the front door down as SJHL champions

Jason La Rose
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May 19, 2022
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When building the 2021-22 edition of the Estevan Bruins, the team that would host the 50th edition of Canada’s National Junior A Championship, Jason Tatarnic’s recruiting process was a pretty simple one.

“We wanted players that cared about the national championship and wanted to be here for that,” the head coach and general manager says. “If that wasn't mentioned in the first 30 seconds, we moved on to the next player.”

The process worked. The Bruins will welcome the country’s best teams for the 2022 Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, with their sights firmly set on adding a national title to what they’ve already accomplished this season.

Estevan rebounded from a relatively slow start (it was 6-3-1 after 10 games) to top the regular-season standings in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) for the first time since 2004-05, winning a league-high 41 games in regulation time and edging out the Humboldt Broncos by a single point on the last day of the season.

The Bruins finished with the most goals scored, fewest goals allowed, third-best power play and second-best penalty kill, and iced a lineup that included seven players with at least 40 points.

They cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs, dropping their postseason opener in double overtime to Notre Dame before rattling off eight consecutive wins to beat the Hounds and Yorkton Terriers.

That set up a showdown in the SJHL final against the Flin Flon Bombers (who confirmed their spot at the Centennial Cup with their appearance in the championship series).

Estevan had finished 20 points clear of Flin Flon during the regular season, but that didn’t matter with the biggest prize on the Prairies on the line. The back-and-forth series went the distance with the home team winning every game, capped by a 2-0 Bruins victory in front of a capacity crowd in Game 7 to clinch their first SJHL title in 23 years.

The national championship is important to the Bruins, but so was getting there through the front door.

“Our first focus [was] the SJHL and our guys wanted to win that very badly,” Tatarnic says. “It was really important to them. When it happened, you could see the joy and the happiness.

“There's a lot of pride in this league to be a league champion. And for us, that was a goal. We wanted to go in [to the Centennial Cup] as a champion. We didn't want to go in as second fiddle.”

The Bruins are hoping the recent run of success by host teams continues; in the last five National Junior A Championships, the home side has appeared in all five championship games, winning a quartet of national titles – Portage in 2015, Cobourg in 2017, Chilliwack in 2018 and Brooks in 2019.

Estevan opens its Centennial Cup schedule against the Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec champions, Collège Français de Longueuil, on May 20.

HOW THEY GOT TO ESTEVAN

Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League
Quarterfinal: defeated Notre Dame 4-1 (3-4 2OT, 4-1, 6-1, 3-2, 8-1)
Semifinal: defeated Yorkton 4-0 (7-4, 3-1, 2-1, 7-2)
SJHL championship: defeated Flin Flon 4-3 (4-2, 2-0, 3-4, 1-7, 2-3 OT, 1-6, 2-0)

REGULAR SEASON

Record (W-L-OTL): 43-10-5 (1st in SJHL)
Goals for: 262 (1st in SJHL)
Goals against: 124 (1st in SJHL)
Power play: 59 for 267 (22.1% – 3rd in SJHL)
Penalty killing: 211 or 234 (90.2% – 2nd in SJHL)
Longest winning streak: 6 (Oct. 23-Nov. 6)
Top 3 scorers:
• Mark Rumsey – 39G 37A 76P (3rd in SJHL)
• Olivier Pouliot – 22G 43A 65P (6th in SJHL)
• Mikol Sartor – 15G 36A 51P (16th in SJHL)

PLAYOFFS

Record: 12-4
Goals for: 59
Goals against: 38
Power play: 15 for 76 (19.7%)
Penalty killing: 57 of 65 (87.7%)
Top 3 scorers:
• Olivier Pouliot – 11G 11A 22P
• Eric Pearce – 10G 8A 18P
• Mark Rumsey – 8G 7A 15P

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

1999 – Estevan Bruins | fifth place | 1-3 | 11GF 17GA

COMMITMENTS

Caelan Fitzpatrick – Niagara University (2022-23)
Eric Houk – University of Regina (2022-23)
Eric Pearce – University of Regina (2022-23)
Olivier Pouliot – Lakehead University (2022-23)
Mark Rumsey – University of Saskatchewan (2022-23)

CJHL TOP 20 RANKINGS

Oct. 4 – 2nd
Oct. 11 – not ranked
Oct. 18 – not ranked
Oct. 25 – not ranked
Nov. 1 – not ranked
Nov. 8 – 20th
Nov. 15 – 19th
Nov. 22 – 14th
Nov. 29 – 13th
Dec. 6 – 10th
Dec. 13 – 13th
Dec. 20 – 17th
Feb. 7 – 7th
Feb. 14 – 9th
Feb. 21 – 9th
Feb. 28 – 10th
March 7 – 11th
March 14 – 10th
March 21 – 10th

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
514-895-9706
[email protected]

 

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

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