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Bomber Game Report: Flin Flon bests Yorkton in 3-2 shootout win

It took a shootout to do it, but the Bombers picked up a big win over Yorkton Saturday, finding two points in a 3-2 win.
Bomber Game Report

It took a shootout to do it, but the Bombers picked up a big win over Yorkton Saturday, finding two points in a 3-2 win.

The Terriers put up a hell of a fight, but Flin Flon ultimately had the answers, coming up with a big victory at the hands of special plays and special players.

Flin Flon got the first big chance of the game, with Conor Ryan picking off a turnover near the Terrier net and almost converting, but Yorkton goalie Adam Kelly sprawled out to make a pair of highlight-reel saves.

It was the new guys who got the Bombers on the board, with a pair of deadline acquisitions teaming up for goal one. Anthony Bax put a shot on Kelly that he saved, but newcomer Keefe Gruener got a stick on the rebound and put it home, making it 1-0 Flin Flon.

It took the Terriers almost half a period to get a shot on the Bomber net, but they got their second one of the night in the net - Jaron Desnoyers picked off a pass in the neutral zone, took a shot from the high slot and it handcuffed Harmon Laser-Hume, hitting his shoulder and bouncing over him and into the net. The first would end tied at one.

The Terriers would take advantage of a powerplay late in the second to take a lead on the Bombers, with Brett Butz hacking home a rebound to get a 2-1 lead. As they had in three of the four games between the two teams this year, the Terriers took the lead - but they wouldn't keep it.

Following a long powerplay, the Bombers kept momentum going in the Terriers' zone and a shot by Anthony Bax got through traffic, sneaking past Kelly for Bax's first SJHL goal and tying the game at two after 40.

The third period saw the teams retreat, combining for just 15 shots - Flin Flon had 10 of them. Both teams had powerplay chances - including Bomber captain Justin Lies hitting the box twice - but neither team converted. Sixty minutes would prove not enough - overtime would be required.

Flin Flon started with Jacob Vockler, Noah Houle and Jerome Gilbert - Yorkton with Anthony Domina, Tyson Perkins and Desnoyers. The Bombers controlled possession early in the extra frame, but Kelly continued to stand tall, with help from a tight, man defence. Lies had a prime chance on a wrister that Kelly didn't get all of, but his teammates went for a line change and no one was around to pounce on the rebound.

Laser-Hume stopped a close chance by Yorkton's Jeff Hammond to keep the game alive, while Houle almost set up Alexi Sylvestre with a point-blank chance, but the puck took a bounce off an errant stick and skipped away. Sylvestre had a big wrap-around chance - knocked away. Dalton Mayes took a shot from distance at Laser-Hume - blockered away. The Terriers retreated and caught their breath.

Flin Flon took over on the next drive, with Vockler and Adam McNutt coming in on a two-on-one - McNutt took a shot at a wide-open cage, but Kelly dove over and committed armed robbery on the Bomber D-man, stealing away a sure goal with a desperation glove save.

David Coyle went back the other way and dangled out the Bomber defence, dangling out McNutt not once but twice and leaving Laser-Hume diving, but the Bomber goalie answered with a great save of his own, committing a second count of grand larceny by glove on what was almost a goal-of-the-year candidate for Coyle.

With 90 seconds left in extra time, both teams fought for possession. The Terriers regrouped, sending players in deep with a minute to go, but got caught too deep, leaving Lies with a chance to end it with a slap-shot - which he tried, with Kelly making another game-saving save.

The Bombers established the zone late, even drawing a tripping call from the Terriers and getting a final desperate chance with seconds to go, but could not close it out before the final horn. After 65 minutes of close action, both teams would be shootout-bound.

Desnoyers, who took the late penalty for the Terriers, took his team's first shot and tried going stick-side. Laser-Hume saw it all the way and stopped him. Flin Flon sent up Vockler, who dangled out Kelly but not Kelly's paddle, which swiped the puck away just in time. No goal.

Yorkton's next man up was Hammond, who tried gambling glove-side and lost, with Laser-Hume getting just enough to knock it wide. Carter Anderson came next for Flin Flon, curving in and getting a shot that rolled up and over Kelly, then over the net. Nope.

Yorkton sent Coyle up next, but after some quick stickhandles, he fired it wide. That set the stage for Lies, who had chances earlier and almost hurt the team with late penalties, to close it out.

Lies came in slowly, looped around and caught Kelly looking, sliding it behind the goalie and into the net. Despite the best efforts of the stubborn Terriers and Kelly's finest work, Yorkton ended with one point, not two - and the Bombers' winning ways continued.

Laser-Hume made 23 saves on the night for the win, while Kelly stopped 36 shots on the night.

The win extends the Bombers' lead atop the SJHL standings, which has now been cut down to just three points as Melfort and Battlefords used busy weeks to inch closer. Flin Flon still leads with 62 points, while the Stars have 59 points and Melfort has 55 - though those teams have played four more and six more games than the Bombers have, respectively.

The Bombers and Terriers will have a rematch in a Sunday afternoon matinee game at the Whitney Forum Jan. 21, starting at 4 p.m. local time.

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