Flin Flon opened the SJHL showcase with an emphatic victory, overcoming an early deficit to win 8-1.
The game opened this week’s SJHL event, which will include four days’ worth of games in Warman in front of college and university scouts. A pair of former Bombers, Austin Calladine and Casey Parker, would do a ceremonial puck drop for the game in conjunction with one of the showcase’s sponsors.
The goodwill would wear off pretty quickly once the puck dropped - and unlike the two teams’ first meeting earlier this season, it would be Weyburn drawing first blood. After finishing up a penalty kill, Weyburn stole the puck away, with Red Wing Jerome Maharaj outmuscling Adam McNutt to get the puck and springing the penalized player, Cade Meiklejohn, on a breakaway when the call expired. Meiklejohn came in on Kenny Marquart, dangled him out and scored, putting the Wings up early in the first.
The Bombers would have chances, including one where Kylynn Olafson nearly sprung Anthony Piccininno in for a far-side tip, but bounces did not go Flin Flon’s way early on.
Opportunity would finally knock late in the period, in an unexpected way - Maharaj bowled into Noah Houle behind the Bomber net, nailing the defenceman with a check from behind. Houle was slow to get up after the cheap shot, but would get back out for the ensuing powerplay.
It was with Maharaj kicked out of the game, another Red Wing in the box serving the penalty and Houle on the ice where the Bombers tied things up. Alexi Sylvestre came in off the rush and put an initial shot on goal. Weyburn goalie Dazza Mitchell made the save, but Carter Anderson came in and scored on the rebound, restoring the deadlock - Houle even got an assist on the goal. Both teams would be tied after one.
The Bombers would pull ahead in the second, with northern talent pushing them ahead. In the first minute of the period, a point shot by Cole Tanchuk was tipped in front, leading to an awkward bounce in front of Mitchell that Justin Lies corralled and fired home, giving Flin Flon their first lead of the night. A few minutes later on the powerplay, Anderson scored his second goal of the night, getting open and beating Mitchell clean top corner, making it 3-1.
From there, it was a war of attrition - Flin Flon hemmed Weyburn in their own zone, overpowering the Wings with offensive zone pressure. That led to several Wings penalties - Tyler Teasdale tried hitting Jacob Vockler with a knee-on-knee check, not taking out Vockler but sending Teasdale to the box. Another penalty came later when Weyburn’s Rhett Vedress took a holding call, giving another powerplay to Flin Flon - and Anderson capitalized, blowing a one-timer past Mitchell to complete the hat-trick, all three of which came on powerplays.
Leading 4-1 into the third period, the Bombers put it into cruise control early in the third, with McNutt redeeming his first period giveaway by firing a dart straight past Mitchell for his fifth of the year.
With the result more or less known, the Bombers sent a message late. Olafson took a shot from just inside the blueline that rookie Koen Senft tipped past Mitchell for a 6-1 lead, then Lies got his second goal of the game by circling the wagons and ripping a shot bar-down past Mitchell. Alexi Sylvestre wrapped up the scoring, making t 8-1 with another powerplay goal - Weyburn’s discipline gave the Bombers the advantage they needed, with Flin Flon scoring four goals with a man advantage. Teasdale was tossed for a second big hit on Vockler behind the Weyburn net, catching the forward from behind.
Marquart, playing his first game after a five-game suspension following a goalie fight, got his first win since Oct. 20, making just 18 saves to do it. Mitchell, on the other hand, was shelled, stopping 39 of 47 shots he faced.
The win puts the Bombers further ahead in the league standings, first place with 31 points in 17 games and a 15-1-1-0 record.