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Moose Jaw connection pays off for Estevan Bruins with SJHL title

Former WHL Warriors, AAA Warriors help Bruins to seven-game win over Flin Flon in championship series
Warriors Estevan SJHL champs
Former Moose Jaw Warriors Kade Runke, Nolan Jones and Boston Bilous won the SJHL title with the Estevan Bruins on Friday night.

When the Estevan Bruins hold their Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League championship parade in the coming days, a diversion up into Moose Jaw would be a perfect fit.

That’s because not only did three former Moose Jaw Warriors suit up for the title-winning crew, no less than five players who had played in the Friendly City in recent years took to the ice with the Estevan as they defeated the Flin Flon Bombers in the league final.

Moose Jaw Minor Hockey product and former Warrior defenceman Nolan Jones was one of those. After joining the Bruins in the off-season, Jones had five goals and 27 points in the regular season and added another two goals and 10 points in the playoffs.

No goal was bigger for the 20-year-old than the one he scored in Game 5, though, with his marker with six seconds to play tying the game and setting the stage for Olivier Pouliot to win things in overtime.

Former Warriors goaltender Boston Bilous also played a huge role in Estevan’s success throughout the season, and none more so than in Game 7. The 20-year-old stopped all 29 shots he faced to earn the shutout as Estevan clinched the championship with a 2-0 win.

All told, Bilous finished with a 12-3-0-1 record in the post-season, positing a 2.00 goals against average and .928 save percentage.

The Bruins also received reinforcement out of Warriors training camp from forward Kade Runke, who had 22 goals and 44 points in the regular season before tacking on another six goals and 11 points in the playoffs, including the third-period tying goal in Estevan’s eventual 4-3 loss in Flin Flon in Game 3.

Former Moose Jaw AAA Warriors standout Caelan Fitzpatrick finished off his playoff run with four goals and eight points after putting up 28 goals and 48 points in the regular season. Fellow former AAA Warrior Cody Davis also suited up for Estevan, scoring 11 goals and 32 points in the regular season to go along with two goals and five points in the Bruins’ 16 postseason games.

The Bombers also had a former Warrior in their line-up in defenceman Cory King. He finished the playoffs with three assists, two of those coming in the final series in the aforementioned 4-3 Game 3 win and the other in the Bombers’ 7-1 win in Game 4.

The season is far from over for both Estevan and Flin Flon, as the Bruins will host the 2022 Centennial Cup national Junior A championship beginning Friday, May 20. The Bombers will also play in the tournament by virtue of reaching the SJHL final.

You can follow along with all the scores from the Centennial Cup at www.hockeycanada.ca.