A week after a disastrous outing in their second game of the season, the Estevan Tarpon Energy Big Dogs rebounded to win for the second time this year.
The Big Dogs rallied in the third period to defeat the Moose Jaw Mustangs 15-13 on Sunday in Moose Jaw.
The Big Dogs (2-1) got eight points each from Dylan Smith and Kelsy Omland, and six from Rhett Handley.
Tanner Froese opened the scoring just 19 seconds into the game, and the rest of the first period was back and forth as the Big Dogs took a 4-3 lead after 20 minutes.
Omland, Ryan Frehlick and Smith had the other opening period goals for Estevan. Zach Johnson, Taylor Dobrescu and Nathan Fall scored for Moose Jaw in the first frame.
The Big Dogs scored early again in the second period, courtesy of a Handley goal 12 seconds in, and Big Dogs head coach Evan Handley said the early offence was important.
"It was nice to see in both of those periods. It gave us the little boost we needed."
But the Mustangs (2-1) would counter 42 seconds later to start a run of four straight goals, scored by Mike North, Chris Sauder, Brad Dunlop and Dobrescu.
After a flurry of goals by both teams, the Big Dogs scored twice in the last 34 seconds of the second period to cut the Mustangs' lead to 10-9.
Smith scored a hat trick in the period, and Handley added a second goal with three seconds on the clock.
Adam Baker, Cody Dunlop and Levi Paul had the other goals for Moose Jaw in the period.
"There were lots of penalties in that period for both sides; it was hard to get any type of flow going," said Handley.
Moose Jaw scored three goals in a span of 61 seconds early in the third, courtesy of Brad Dunlop, Fall and Dobrescu, to take a 13-9 lead.
At that point, Handley called a timeout and it seemed to make a difference.
"I told them it was time to bear down and we were as good of a team as Moose Jaw was, and we knew we could play with them."
The Big Dogs responded by scoring six unanswered goals.
Omland bulged the twine twice in 46 seconds, and Handley then scored a natural hat trick in a span of 2:24 to put the Big Dogs on top.
Omland closed out the scoring by giving his team some insurance with 83 seconds left in regulation.
Handley said the team's goaltending kept it in the game in the third.
"Daniel Wenham stood on his head in the third period, and he made a bunch of really good saves all game," he said.
He added that Froese, Marshall Holzer and Ryan Curzon were among the standouts on the day, and that Wayde Curzon "had one of his strongest games I've seen in a long, long time."
After needing only three games to surpass their win total from all of last season, Handley said he's confident his team will make some noise in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League this year.
"I think we can compete with all the teams," he said.
"When we get the players out and get the numbers, it's nice to see. They're working hard in practice. Everybody's competing, everybody's playing hard when they're out on the floor, from the first-year guys to the guys that have been playing for years."
The Big Dogs will face a major test this weekend with two games at the Lignite Miners Centre.
The Prince Albert Predators, who went undefeated last season and are 2-0 to start this year, visit the Big Dogs at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The Regina Riot, who crushed Estevan 26-3 on May 18, are in town Sunday for a 5:30 p.m. game.