Total domination from pillar to post. The Bombers took over early on the team's free attendance night and did not let up, winning 8-0 over Nipawin.
Three of the Bombers' forwards scored twice including the returning Matt Egan, the team's winning streak was extended to six and Kenny Marquart picked up his league-leading fourth shutout of the season in front of 1,503 people at the Whitney Forum. Flin Flon opened the scoring early and made sure the result was never in doubt, providing several big moments for the faithful.
Egan was reintroduced to the Forum as part of the starting lineup. Friday's game was Egan's first one back after being diagnosed with cancer over the holiday break.
Less than two minutes into the game, the Bombers got the party started with Carter Anderson picking up a stretch pass and beating Damon Cunningham clean - 1-0 Flin Flon on Anderson's 30th goal of the year.
Fewer than two minutes passed before the Bombers got back on the board, this time courtesy of the fourth line. Joey Lies fired a pass from behind the net out to Riley Niven, who put a long wrister past Cunningham for his first goal as a Bomber. It took Niven 19 games and over two months to get on the board, but he got there - teammates made sure to save him the puck. On top of that, Egan got an assist on the goal, his first point in his first game back.
Anderson got back on the board with number 31 soon after, firing home a powerplay one-timer. The Bombers were up three goals before Nipawin even got a single shot on net.
Not long after, Niven got on the board for the second time of the night, deflecting a point shot by Cole Tanchuk past Cunningham. Four goals on the Bombers' first seven shots, each before the first was even halfway over, brought the Bombers' fans to their feet.
Once four goals went up on the scoreboard, things got chippy, staying that way for most of the rest of the game. Together, the two teams combined for over three hours of penalty minutes, starting with Anderson getting chippy with Nipawin's Alex Bernauer - that got both players misconducts, the first of several on the night. The Bombers killed off a 5-on-3, then went back to four-on-four after Egan and Hawk Ronan Buckberger had a dust-up in the corner.
Flin Flon led 4-0 going into the second period and almost extended the lead when captain Justin Lies was sprung on a breakaway - he tried going glove side on Cunningham, who stopped him. The second was a more back-and-forth frame than the first, with little offence to speak of and ending with the same score it started with.
In the third, things opened up big time for the Bombers. Tyson Smith finally broke on through with his first goal as a Bomber, taking a feed from Noah Houle, knocking it home and miming ripping the monkey off his back in the corner before being mobbed by his teammates.
Things continued going the maroon and white's way midway through the frame, with Adam McNutt blasting a shot through traffic. Egan got a stick on the puck and tipped it past Cunningham, getting his third goal of the season and his first one back in the lineup. Cunningham was given the sympathy pull after that, making 24 saves on 30 shots on a night where he received little help from teammates - U18 AAA callup Jaidyn Shaw went into the Nipawin net in relief.
The offence didn't stop, with Anthony Piccininno putting the Bombers up by a touchdown and extra point by single-handedly putting together a goal-of-the-year candidate, dangling out four Hawks players consecutively before sliding it past Shaw.
It all popped off with about seven minutes left on the clock. With most of the Bombers' top players sitting on the bench to wait out the end, Niven and Buckberger got into it near the Bomber net, leading to multiple scraps. Jerome Gilbert and Chase Visser tackled each other to the ice, while Niven found a dance partner in Liam McInnis. Gilbert and Niven would be tossed, along with Buckberger and Visser - they would soon have company.
A few minutes later, Noah Houle and Nipawin's Mason Karakochuk would get into a wrestling match after a hip check by Houle - both would be ejected.
A couple of Nipawin penalties gave the Bombers one more late powerplay, which Egan would convert on, getting his second of the night and saying goodnight to the Hawks with a one-timer. Not long after, Egan would get into a pileup and get ejected, while Joey Lies got into a tiff with Nipawin's Mark Lafleur, seeing them both kicked out.
With both teams' benches looking bare at the final whistle, the Bombers sent the fans home happy - McNutt waved the Hawks out as Flin Flon celebrated the win and the biggest crowd of the season.
Marquart cruised to the win, making 29 saves and picking up his third shutout in his last five starts. Shaw made four saves on six shots in relief.
Egan ended the night with four points, two goals and two assists - one more point than he had all season coming into the game. Tanchuk had four assists on the night.
Flin Flon now sports a 35-2-2-0 record and has 72 of a possible 78 points, in front of second-place Battlefords by eight points despite the Stars having played three more games than the Bombers.
A recorded total of 1,503 fans entered the Forum Friday on Hockey Night in the North, the Bombers' annual free admission game. It was the biggest crowd at the Forum for a regular season game since the Feb. 10, 2017 edition of Hockey Night in the North, an 11-0 rout of an at-the-time cellar-dwelling La Ronge squad shown prominently in the film Flin Flon: A Hockey Town.
The Bombers will soon embark on the dreaded southern road swing - four games in five nights next week, all on the road. It starts with a game in Melville against the Millionaires Feb. 6, one of just two teams to beat the Bombers in regulation this season. The Bombers will go to Wilcox to face Notre Dame a night later, then have a one day break before facing Weyburn Feb. 9 and Estevan Feb. 10.