Skip to content

Bomber Game Report: Flin Flon sends message with 4-2 win over Stars, weekend road sweep

Another one just like the other one - the Bombers erased any doubts against the Stars Saturday night, beating the Battlefords 4-2 and earning two straight wins over their closest rivals.
Bomber Game Report

Another one just like the other one - the Bombers erased any doubts against the Stars Saturday night, beating the Battlefords 4-2 and earning two straight wins over their closest rivals.

Unlike Friday's game, the Saturday rematch would be played at the Battleford Arena across the North Saskatchewan River, not at the Stars' standard home of Access Communications Centre in North Battleford. 

The Battleford rink is both smaller in capacity than the Stars' standard rink, but in overall surface size - at 87 feet wide and 189 feet long, the rink is closer to the Bombers' Whitney Forum, which is 80 feet by 187 feet. Both are smaller than normal rink regulation size - 85 feet by 200 feet, the size of the Stars' standard home ice.

That size change gave Flin Flon a slight advantage early - with the old rink's blue bleachers packed with Stars fans, the Bombers generated chances early, but Battlefords goalie Logan Cunningham was up to the task early, stopping chances from Flin Flon's Koen Senft, Anthony Piccininno and Justin Lies. Piccininno got maybe the period's best chance with four minutes to go, but Cunningham stood tall to save it.

That pressure paid off though, with the Bombers breaking through with only moments to go in the first. Carter Anderson, heading into the zone while the Bombers were shorthanded, knocked in a goal just after the penalty expired, making it 1-0 Flin Flon. Anderson's goal was his 28th of the year, putting him in a tie with the Stars' Kian Bell and Humboldt's Spencer Bell for second in the league's goal-scoring race.

Anderson was sent to the box almost immediately following the goal, but the Bombers' ever-dangerous penalty kill nearly extended their lead - Piccininno went in on a breakaway and nearly scored, but Cunningham made the save, keeping the Bomber lead at 1-0 after 20.

Flin Flon continued to press on Cunningham, with two great chances by Tyson Smith, looking for his first goal as a Bomber - the Stars netminder stopped both.

Much of the second period was a goalie duel between Harmon Laser-Hume and Cunningham, who went save for save. The Bombers had a pair of penalties to deal with, including a 10-minute misconduct to Alexi Sylvestre, but almost got out of the second period unscathed.

Battlefords got on the board with barely a minute to go in the second, thanks to Ben Portner, the Stars' second-leading scorer, pouncing on a loose puck in close and burying it past Laser-Hume. The game entered the third period tied at one, with the Stars narrowly outshooting the Bombers.

Heading into the third, momentum went the Stars' way, but Anderson switched that up in a hurry, firing a shot past Cunningham again to get his second goal of the game. Much like his first goal of the night, Anderson's offence drew a crowd from the Stars, leading to Anderson and Stars forward Bradley Blake each getting 10-minute misconducts due to a centre-ice tiff before the faceoff.

Flin Flon got a powerplay when Riley Girod got the gate for cross-checking Senft, but with one of their top triggermen in the box, the Bombers couldn't get anything going - in fact, the Stars got a prime chance when Treycen Wuttunee stripped a player and got a breakaway shorthanded, which was stopped by Laser-Hume. Smith nearly extended the lead but for a Cunningham pokecheck, which killed the chance - and also reintroduced Sylvestre, whose misconduct ran out on the ensuing stoppage.

The Stars got humming once the penalty kill was over, establishing themselves in the Bomber zone. That would pay off, with Alex Izyk getting a shot through traffic and past Laser-Hume, who couldn't find the puck in a sea of bodies out front. Tie game.

Lies was nailed around the midway point of the period by the Stars' Kobie Anderson, giving Flin Flon another powerplay, but that went away with Lies going to the box on a makeup call soon after, making it four-on-four. Bell took a prime chance at Laser-Hume that he snared with a glove save, keeping the home team at bay. Neither team made good on the four-on-four period.

Lies would not be denied though, as he would dig in after getting a feed from Piccininno and put a wrist shot past Cunningham blocker side, giving the Bombers a 3-2 lead and freeing Anderson from the bench. The goal was Lies' league-leading 32nd of the season.

The Stars got a late chance to even it up though, with Senft catching a Star in the face with a stick and getting two minutes for high-sticking for his troubles. That did not pan out for the Stars - as soon as Senft escaped the box, Lies sprung him with a breakaway pass and the gifted rookie went top right corner on Cunningham, making it 4-2 Flin Flon with less than four minutes left.

It was all hands on deck for Battlefords late, trying to tie the game up. Cunningham was yanked from the net for the extra attacker with two minutes to go, making it 6-on-5 for the Stars. Smith almost hit the empty net from distance, putting it off the post and forcing an icing and a faceoff in the Bomber zone with a minute to go. Anderson had a chance for an empty-netter for the hatty and missed, but the ending was soon sealed - a Flin Flon win.

Laser-Hume, playing his second game against the Stars in as many nights, stopped 36 shots on the night, while Cunningham saved 29 shots.

One night after their 10-game winning streak was snapped, the Stars' 16-game point streak was shattered in the loss. The Bombers, meanwhile, head back home with a five-game winning streak intact. Lies led the way with three points, including the game-winning goal.

Through 38 games, the Bombers now have a 34-2-2-0 record and become the first SJHL team this season to hit 70 points. Flin Flon is now eight points clear of the second-place Stars, who have played three more games than the Bombers have - Melfort is now 13 points back in third, having played four more games than Flin Flon.

Next up for the Bombers is the SJHL/MJHL Showcase, which will take place at Winnipeg's Seven Oaks Sportsplex Jan. 30-31. Ten Bomber players and head coach and general manager Mike Reagan will each head to the event to represent their league on one of three representative teams.

Bomber forward Matt Egan is now eligible to return to the lineup after a six-game suspension, picked up before the holiday break. Egan, who was diagnosed with cancer over the holidays, is now healthy enough to play and will make his return to the ice in the Bombers' next home game against Nipawin Feb. 2.

The win also confirms that the Bombers will make the playoffs, with 18 games left to play - four teams in the league, Kindersley, Yorkton, La Ronge and Notre Dame, cannot catch the Bombers even if they went undefeated the rest of the way and the Bombers lost every remaining game.

Out of last season's SJHL teams, only four had more points at the end of the season than the Bombers now have. The Bombers are also on pace to hit 103 total points at current rates - four more than the Stars had last year in their record-breaking season.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks