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Tale of the tape: Bombers, Bruins prepare for Game 7

It's do-or-die for Flin Flon and Estevan at the Whitney Forum tonight. Game 7 of the teams' SJHL first round playoff series starts at 7:30 p.m. local time Tuesday night. Here's how the two teams match up.
Estevan Bruins goalie Cam Hrdlicka makes a save while Bruin Owen Miley and Flin Flon’s Zach Cain battle it out in front during the teams’ Game 5 battle at the Whitney Forum last week. The teams will Game 7 of their SJHL playoff series Tuesday night at the Whitney Forum.

It's do-or-die for Flin Flon and Estevan at the Whitney Forum tonight. Game 7 of the teams' SJHL first round playoff series starts at 7:30 p.m. local time Tuesday night. Here's how the two teams match up.

Flin Flon won the first two games of the series, before Estevan took over at home, tying the series with wins in Games 3 and 4 and taking the lead with a 2-1 overtime win against the Bombers last Friday at the Forum. The Bombers, forced to win or go home in Estevan Sunday night, beat the Bruins in their own rink in Game 6, forcing a single elimination matchup at The Zoo.

The series is a rematch of last season's SJHL final series, which also went seven games - that time, with Game 7 at Estevan's Affinity Place, the Bruins came out on top with a 2-0 win, clinching the league title and sending the Bombers home with nothing. The Bruins have five players who were part of that team coming back for Game 7 Tuesday night - the Bombers have nine players from last year's squad back, along with former Bruin and Estevan native Alex Von Sprecken, who was part of the title-winning team.

The Bombers' provisional lineup for Game 7 is almost the same as the team's layout for Game 6, according to posts from the team's official social media accounts - no new faces coming into the lineup or leaving and the exact same lines and defence pairings. The Bruins' lineup, as per the team's pages, has been jumbled a bit from Game 6, with Mitch Kohner and Ilia Chmelevski both out of the lineup - affiliate players Madden Wallis and Kade Margolis will suit up in their place.

The Bruins' offence has been paced by Owen Barrow and Jagjeevan Phangura, who lead the team in scoring through six games. Phangura has three goals in the team's six games and scored in Games 2, 3 and 4 for the team. In the Bruins' four games against Flin Flon, Phangura scored three goals, including the team's only two goals during a weekend set at the Forum in January.

The team's returning forwards from last year's playoff run - Cody Davis, Mitch Kohner, Keagon Little and Kade Runke - have also played crucial roles. Davis scored both goals in the Bruins' Game 5 victory, while Little had an assist in Game 3 and an empty net goal in Game 4. Runke has points in four of the Bruins' six games.

Flin Flon's top scorers in the series so far have been Alexi Sylvestre and Jacob Vockler, with five points apiece. Both players have scored game-winning goals for Flin Flon during the series. Otherwise, the rest of the Bombers' top seven scorers are all defencemen - Cory King, Reece Richmond, Cole Tanchuk, Lucas Fry and Noah Houle, in that order. King was named the SJHL's defenceman of the week for his play last week.

Player health

Injuries have played havoc for both teams during the series, but Flin Flon may be about to overcome their bout with the injury bug.

While the Bombers entered the playoffs with six forwards out of the lineup injured, all but two of those players have since returned to play. Vockler, who missed the Bombers' last nine regular season games, has played five of the team's six games and has five points, tied for the team's lead in scoring. Zach Cain, who missed the final three games of the season, missed the first four games of the playoffs before coming back to play.

Cole Duperreault and Jeremi Tremblay each returned after lengthy layoffs in Game 6 - and both scored for Flin Flon. Jaeden Mercier also came back from an injury he suffered back in January, but missed Games 5 and 6 due to a separate injury.

Mercier, Matt Egan and Kylynn Olafson - hurt following a headshot by Daniel O'Neill in Game 5, a hit that earned O'Neill a two-game suspension - are the Bombers' sole remaining players on the injured list.

Player health has become a problem for the Bruins, who are now missing two of their key forwards - Chmelevski and Kohner. The two players crashed into each other during Game 6, causing both to fall to the ice hurt and missing the rest of the game. Kohner has three points in six games, including Estevan's goal in Game 6, despite playing hurt throughout the series - Chmelevski has two points for the Bruins.


Estevan's biggest X-factor has been in net. Goalie Cam Hrdlicka has been the Bruins' MVP of the series so far, winning the SJHL's MVP of the week and goalie of the week for his play last week. The goalie has a 3-3 record going into the decisive game, with a 2.52 goals-against-average and a staggering .941 save percentage.

In the Bomber net stands Harmon Laser Hume, who has also had a spectacular series - a 3-1-2 record, a .938 save percentage and a 1.83 goals-against-average through six games. Laser-Hume has given up two goals or fewer in five of the six games in the series.

Playoff seeding

Three of the SJHL's four first-round series have already finished up as of press time - the top-seed Battlefords North Stars overcame a Game 1 loss to rampage past Weyburn in five games, adding a coup de grace with a 7-4 win March 24. Humboldt also overcame their opponent in five games, beating Nipawin 6-2 in their own Game 5 March 24 to clinch a spot.

Melfort overcame division rivals La Ronge in six games Sunday, winning the decisive Game 6 8-2 on enemy ice to eliminate the Ice Wolves and move on.

Who plays who will hinge on the outcome of the Bruins and Bombers' Game 7 - as the teams in the league's playoffs are reseeded after the first round, the lowest remaining seed will face Battlefords and the second-lowest remaining seed will play Humboldt.

If the Bombers take Game 7, they - the third-ranked team - will enter as the second-lowest remaining seed, setting up a series with Humboldt and Battlefords playing Melfort. Estevan, the sixth-ranked team, would enter the second round as the league's lowest remaining seed if they win Game 7, setting them up with a second-round date with the Stars and a Humboldt/Melfort series.

A full post-game report of Game 7 can be found on The Reminder’s website at

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