In a Friday night clash of the titans in Flin Flon, the Bombers bested Humboldt 5-1.
A strong second period both gave the Bombers the lead and extended it - and despite fast-paced transitional action all night, the Bombers stayed ahead.
Humboldt started the game flying and opened the scoring early, with Marik Mamic getting the last touch on a puck that beat Harmon Laser-Hume. The Bombers weren't pleased with the call, thinking that Laser-Hume had kept the puck from crossing the line, but the officials and goal judge agreed it had gone in and the goal stayed on the board.
The Broncos kept the pressure on and crowded the front of the Bomber net, getting in Laser-Hume's kitchen and keeping the Bombers from getting established. Flin Flon was able to kill off a four-minute penalty without further damage, including a moment when Laser-Hume took the stick of a Bronco that got too close, put his stick underneath and flung it into low-earth orbit.
Big saves and defensive blocks pushed momentum back the Bombers' way and while Noah Houle ended up in the box with a penalty, Humboldt's Travis Bryson took a penalty of his own that made it four-on-four, hauling down Carter Anderson on a breakaway.
With the extra open ice, the Bombers thrived late, buzzing the Humboldt zone and testing rookie goalie Aidan Fischer. That led to Anderson setting up the league's leading scorer, Alexi Sylvestre, with a pinpoint pass that Sylvestre hammered into the back of the net. Both teams entered the second tied at one, while Humboldt players thought a late wraparound got past Laser-Hume - the goal judge's light stayed off and the refs called no goal.
In the second, Flin Flon found their stride. The ice opened up for more fast, back-and-forth, give-and-take hockey - and the Bombers took more than they gave.
Humboldt started with an amazing chance, as Cole Tanchuk made a rare miscue and lost the puck to Mamic, who raced in on Laser-Hume but fell down untouched on his way to the net, losing the puck.
Brock Mueller got to work midway through the frame, being sprung on a partial breakaway and being unable to convert. The Bombers' mucker-in-chief didn't have to wait long to redeem himself though - later that shift, the puck leaked out near Fischer and Mueller hammered it home, giving Flin Flon the lead and scoring his first goal in almost a month.
The floodgates opened from there. Not long after, Justin Lies got loose for a breakaway of his own and he made no mistake, pushing the Bombers up 3-1. A couple other prime chances came and went for Anderson and Dawson Karol, but Ashton Paul got on the board with a quick rip of his own, beating Fischer clean.
A late powerplay gave the Bombers another prime chance, but some quality defence from the visitors, including a heroic blocked shot from Humboldt's Chase Cooke that hobbled him badly, kept the score 4-1 Flin Flon after 40.
The Bombers stretched the lead out in the third, with Joey Lies showing his hands on another partial break, picking off an errant pass and beating Fischer just like brother Justin and making it 5-1.
Meanwhile, Laser-Hume was playing perhaps his best game of the year, keeping pucks away and helping move it forward. The Broncos, as they have in each of the past two seasons when behind, got chippy late, with Maddox Amaral looking for a pound of flesh from Justin Lies and both Cooke and Brayden Skogstad going for Liam Bridger, but neither Bomber took the bait.
Things advanced late when, on a delayed Bomber penalty, Bronco Matthew Van Blaricom collided with Laser-Hume and knocked him to the ice. Laser-Hume stayed in the game and Van Blaricom was not penalized - the only penalty on the play went to Mueller, who was assessed a high stick.
Cooler heads prevailed though and, with the penalty boxes filling up late, the Bombers took the game over and rode to glory in the end, getting a big victory in the first game of a weekend series. One final incident came with just over a minute left, when Bomber Adam McNutt and Humboldt defender Connor Thue faced off and McNutt appeared to bump heads with Thue - McNutt was given two minutes for roughing and a game misconduct.
Laser-Hume set a new career high in saves, stopping 49 of 50 shots for the Bombers on a rare night when Flin Flon was outshot by an opponent. Fischer made 39 saves on the night.
The win pushes the Bombers further ahead into first in the SJHL standings with 35 points and pulls the Broncos down to third place with 29. The Battlefords North Stars are climbing, taking over the second place spot with 31 points, but the Stars have played three more games than both Flin Flon and Humboldt.
Flin Flon and Humboldt face off again at the Whitney Forum Saturday night.