The Bombers gave hometown fans something to smile about, beating the rival Blizzard 7-1 in their first preseason home game.
Icing a mostly veteran lineup against a mixed group of experienced and young Blizzard, the Bombers took the lead in the opening minute and never let up.
The offence started just 32 seconds into the game, when Alexi Sylvestre put a muffin on the net from 60 feet out that handcuffed Blizzard netminder Loic Morin and beat him clean. 1-0 Flin Flon, very quickly.
That score would grow to 2-0 midway through the frame, with Vockler getting a goal of his own, corralling a rebound from a Sylvestre shot that went off Morin's pad. The Bombers controlled the balance of play for the opening frame, almost getting a third goal from Brock Mueller that would have gone in if it wasn't for a gorgeous Morin glove save. Flin Flon led 2-0 after 20.
In the second, the new guys started showing off what they could do. Alberta training camp invitee David Ander got on the board early on, getting the last touch on a puck that beat Morin after a fracas in the slot. Not to be outdone, American prospect Trevor Stenglein, playing his first game in Bomber maroon since arriving in Flin Flon, got on the board after cutting into the zone, splitting the defence and going post-in on Morin with a gorgeous wrister.
Goalies were swapped at the halfway point, with little else going on through the second, barring a couple of group struggle sessions in front of the net after whistles. The Bombers entered the third with a 4-0 lead.
With 20 minutes to go, Creighton native Ryder Mucha put his name in the record book, working a give-and-go at the point with Ander and firing a long shot with eyes that beat Blizzard goalie Jack Osmond. Mucha got to live out the dream of scoring for his hometown club, doing so in a rivalry game, while extending Flin Flon's lead to five.
The Blizzard showed a pulse moments later, with Marlen Edwards breaking the shared shutout bid by pouncing on a rebound near Harmon Laser-Hume and stuffing the puck into the four-by-six, making it 5-1 - former Bomber Mathew Langdon, who the Blizzard acquired early last season, got an assist on the play.
While that got the Blizzard on the board, it was all the offence they could manage. Noah Houle found the net two more times late in the game, both with long-range wrist shots through traffic, to give the Bombers a touchdown with the extra point.
Things got chippy in the third, with Justin Lies, playing in his first official game as a Bomber since his signing to the team was confirmed earlier in the day, nailing a Blizzard player into the boards midway through the third. The hit drew a crowd and sparked a pair of minor scraps, including one featuring Houle, who fought with a Blizzard player sporting a cage. When the dust settled, Lies was kicked out of the game with a checking from behind and a game misconduct, while Houle was ejected with a gross misconduct for grabbing at his fellow combatant's cage.
Spirits died off later in the third, with the Bombers playing out the clock and taking the win. Goalies Ryan Bain and Laser-Hume combined for 19 saves on 20 shots - Bain went nine for nine, while Laser-Hume made 10 stops - while Blizzard goalies Morin and Osmond had 33 and 10 saves respectively on the final game sheet.
It will be another year at least before the two northern teams play again. The Bombers have three more preseason games on the way, next hitting the ice Sept. 9 in La Ronge against the Ice Wolves. From there, the Bombers will play a road game against Melfort Sept. 12, before finishing off their preseason with a home date with the Ice Wolves Sept. 14.
The Bombers play their season opener Sept. 22 in Nipawin against the Hawks. They'll play their home opener against the Melfort Mustangs Sept. 23.