Well, this one was kind of weird, but the Bombers got it done once more against Estevan, winning their last showcase game 6-1.
Estevan entered the game having just had a long win streak snapped and having picked up several new players since they last faced the Bombers last month. Early on, the changes did not matter a bit. The Bombers opened the scoring just four minutes in when Brock Mueller forced a turnover, circled the net and fed Justin Lies in the slot, who banged the puck home.
Moments later, Flin Flon made it 2-0 with some good-old-fashioned baseline muckin'. Alexi Sylvestre and Ashton Paul won possession back behind the Bruin net and centred it out front, where Anthony Piccininno popped it past Cam Hrdlicka and into the net.
Later in the frame, more down-low hustle paid off, with a puck squirting out from the back boards to Noah Houle at the point on a powerplay. The defender flipped a pass to Jacob Vockler near the net and the South Dakota sniper made no mistake, tapping it into a yawning cage to make it 3-0. Flin Flon would enter the second with that lead still in place.
The Bombers let up off the gas pedal slightly, but still applied plenty of pressure to the Estevan side - this time, Hrdlicka dug deep and kicked aside most of Flin Flon's shots. Estevan failed to generate much offence, but the period was mostly even until later on.
Nobody can ever accuse Bruins head coach Jason Tatarnic of being conventional, and his latest hunch, taken late in the second period, did not pay off, giving the Bombers a goal and the game a moment worthy of a SportsCentre "not top 10" segment.
With Estevan on a powerplay, Tatarnic, who has in the past been aggressive with pulling the goalie for a possible advantage, pulled Hrdlicka with four minutes to go in the second period. The hope was to produce a 6-on-4 for the Bruins and a possible goal, but the play failed - Carter Anderson scored a rare shorthanded second-period empty net goal, giving the Bombers a 4-0 lead under bizarre circumstances.
Flin Flon entered the third still up four. A parade to the penalty box hurt the Bruins, leading to a second goal from Vockler, converting on a powerplay late after catching a stretch pass from Harmon Laser-Hume and dangling out Hrdlicka. Anderson would convert again late, flipping the puck over Hrdlicka and going bar-down after a smooth assist by Sylvestre.
The shutout would not last for Laser-Hume. When the Bombers got into penalty trouble of their own late - and with Hrdlicka pulled from the net again - Felix Allard fired one through traffic that beat the Bomber netminder in the final minute. Fifty-nine minutes of shutout hockey would still get the Bombers the win and send Flin Flon out of the showcase with two wins, a combined 14-2 score and send Estevan home winless from the SJHL showcase for the fourth straight time.
Laser-Hume stopped 22 of 23 shots he faced, while Hrdlicka made 40 saves on the night.
The Bombers stay atop the SJHL standings with a 16-1-1-0 record and 33 of a possible 36 points. Humboldt is second in the league, four points back with 29 and a 13-1-2-1 record.
Those top two teams will face each other this weekend at the Whitney Forum in a clash of the titans, where the league's top spot and the rank of Canada's top junior A team may be at stake. The two teams play Nov. 17-18.