Flin Flon got back in the win column Tuesday night, handing division rivals Nipawin a 4-1 loss.
The Bombers beat up the division's cellar dweller in a solid team performance, moving the club up to the division lead and second place in the SJHL.
The game marked the Bomber debut of Ethan Mercer, a 2002-born forward from Alberta who officially joined the club Tuesday. A former Brooks Bandit, Mercer was acquired from the AJHL's Olds Grizzlys.
No offence came in the first period, but the tide turned after intermission. Mercer almost generated a chance in his Bomber debut early in the second, poking the puck from a Hawks defender and going on a breakaway, but Nipawin's Jackson Fellner stopped the chance.
Nipawin would take their first penalty of the game five minutes into the second, giving the Bombers' powerplay a chance to run rampant - and that would do exactly that. Flin Flon opened the scoring by cycling the puck around with a man up until it got onto Jeremi Tremblay's stick - he quickly snapped it past Fellner, giving Flin Flon the lead.
Moments later, Mercer would find the twine for his first time as a Bomber, snagging the rebound from a Cole Tanchuk point shot and burying it on Fellner.
Nipawin would kill former teammate Harmon Laser-Hume's shutout bid midway through the period with a powerplay goal of their own. A shot by defender Zander Stewart would bounce around in front and land on the stick of Reid Mackay, who buried it, cutting the deficit to one. Bomber captain Lucas Fry, whose stick was wrestled away by a Hawk earlier in the play and who Mackay got around to score the goal, argued for a penalty, but none would come. No other offence would come in the second, heading into the final frame as a 2-1 Bomber lead.
The Hawks suffered a big blow early in the first, as forward Rylan Lefevbre left the ice after a Bomber hit pushed him into an open bench door, leading him to leave the game hurt. Nipawin would take another shot, as Alex Von Sprecken boarded the Hawks' Carson Dobson, causing him to get up slowly and giving the Hawks a powerplay.
Not only would Nipawin fail to capitalize, but they would take a penalty of their own, nullifying the powerplay. With play at 4-on-4, the Bombers would strike, with Alexi Sylvestre using his dangerous wrister to score his ninth goal of the year, extending the Bombers' lead. Sylvestre now is tied for the league lead in rookie goalscoring.
Late in the period, the Bombers made it 4-1 with a one-timer from Cole Duperreault getting back on the board in his first game back post-suspension, ending the game with an exclamation point.
Laser-Hume made 32 saves on 33 shots, getting the win, while Fellner made 31 stops on the night.
The Bombers now have 30 points on the year, ahead of La Ronge and Humboldt, who have 29 and 28 points respectively. Only red-hot Battlefords are ahead of the Bombers, sporting a 18-0-2-1 record and 39 of a possible 42 points this year.
Flin Flon will go away for a pair of road games this weekend against Canada's top-ranked junior A team, playing the Stars Nov. 18-19. Neither game will be played in North Battleford, though - due to a condenser repair, the Stars have moved both of the games this weekend to neutral sites. The Nov. 18 game will be played at the Saskcan Community Centre in Wilkie, while the Saturday game will be moved to the Battleford Arena across the river in Battleford and will be played at 2 p.m.
Flin Flon will add a third game Nov. 20 against third-place Humboldt, also on the road.