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Bomber Centennial Cup Game Report: Flin Flon takes 3-2 OT win over Ottawa

Down early. A late comeback. Overtime heroics. The Bombers are 2-0 at the Centennial Cup.
Bomber Drew Kuzma battles for position with Ottawa's Philippe Jacques.

Down early. A late comeback. Overtime heroics. The Bombers are 2-0 at the Centennial Cup.

Flin Flon came out on top of an overtime thriller against Ottawa Saturday, beating the fourth-ranked team in Canada 3-2 in overtime.

The Bombers went behind the eight-ball early. A slashing penalty in the opening minute to the Bombers gave Ottawa a powerplay, on which the Senators' Massimo Gentile capitalized with a point shot through traffic. Flin Flon would tie things up later in the first with a powerplay goal of their own - Drew Kuzma put a shot on goal and Jaeden Mercier would whack the puck past Ottawa 'keeper William Desmarais, knotting the game at one.

The Bombers and netminder Cal Schell would shut down a pair of dangerous chances for the Senators late in the period, sending it into the intermission tied up.

Flin Flon would get into penalty trouble in the second, but would battle back with a man down to kill off the penalties and keep the score tied.

That tie wouldn't last long in the third, though - Gentile would get on the board again with a shot from about 40 feet out that went bar-down on Schell, putting the Jr. Sens up 2-1. Brett Wieschorster nearly tied the game right back up with a move that beat Desmarais, but didn't beat the post.

Ottawa's Jake Code was kicked out of the game with 14 minutes to go for checking Bomber captain Zak Smith from behind. Smith would be okay and would stay in the game.

Despite a few powerplays in the early third, the Bombers struggled to get momentum, being closed out by the Senators' defence before even getting shots on Desmarais, but the Bombers were able to break the drought late. Matt Raymond pulled a little sneaky on Desmarais, firing a shot from the goal-line that snuck underneath the goalie and banked in off the far post. Raymond cellied hard in response, dropping to a knee and crashing into the glass before being mobbed by teammates.

Flin Flon's momentum would carry after that. Martens came millimetres away from giving Flin Flon their first lead of the hockey game, hitting the post once more. With less than a minute to go, Cory King would come close to stuffing one home to no avail, followed by a similar chance for the Senators the other way.

After 60 minutes of regulation play, both sides would be tied. Overtime, for the first time during the tournament, would be required - five minutes or less of 3-on-3 OT would be needed.

In the end, far less than five minutes would be needed - only 20 seconds. Xavier Lapointe, working a cycle play with Kuzma, would swing around the sideboards and fired one past Desmarais, giving the Bombers their second W of the tourney.

The Bombers' player of the game award was given to Mercier - Gentile was named Ottawa's player of the game. Schell made 31 saves on the night, while Desmarais took the L after a 24 save effort. Both Kuzma (two assists) and Lapointe (the OT winner and an assist) had a pair of points on the night.

The victory gives the Bombers a 2-0 record through two games, putting them atop the standings in the tournament's Group B. The next two teams the Bombers will play in the tournament - the MHL champion Summerside Western Capitals and MJHL winners Dauphin - have also won their games. The top three teams out of both five-team groups will advance to the tournament quarterfinals - the top team will get a bye straight to the semifinals.

It is also the second time the Bombers, who entered the tournament not ranked in the CJHL's final Top 20 rankings, have knocked off a league champion ranked in the top 10. The Bombers had previously beat sixth-seeded Soo Thursday, winning 6-1.

Elsewhere in the group, Summerside beat Soo 4-1 early Friday afternoon, while Dauphin defeated the Senators 2-1 in the matinee matchup. In the other group, hosts Estevan were knocked off by Quebecois entrant Collège Français de Longueuil 5-3 in the marquee game Friday night, while the heavy favourite Brooks Bandits took care of business twice, beating Longueuil 5-2 and routing the Red Lake Miners 11-4 Saturday.

Flin Flon will round out pool play with a game against Summerside Monday afternoon and a final preliminary game against Dauphin Tuesday. Both games will be played at 4 p.m. Saskatchewan time (5 p.m. Manitoba time) and will be streamed online - for free - on Hockey Canada's website.