Bombers drop 3-1 home game to Melfort, fall into division lead tie

If it wasn't for bad luck, the Bombers would have had no luck at all Saturday night, losing 3-1 to division rivals Melfort and no longer holding undisputed top spot in the Sherwood Division.

The Bombers, sporting four new line combinations after an away game Friday in Nipawin, were sluggish out of the gate. Melfort took advantage, with Colton Schell sneaking a shot through traffic to beat Jacob Delorme early in the first. Melfort led 1-0 after both the first and second periods.

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Easton Haygarth was sent to the showers early after a knee-on-knee collision with Melfort forward Ben Chase. Chase left the ice in discomfort but returned to the game. Haygarth, on the other hand, didn't come back – he was ejected after being called for kneeing.

Flin Flon turned it on in the second period, but Melfort goalie Shawn Parkinson was up to the task, stopping everything that came his way until the early third period. That was when Caleb Franklin found his own rebound after a partial rush and snuck it past Parkinson, tying things up.

The stalemate lasted all of four minutes. Not long after Tristan Lemyre was robbed at point-blank range by Parkinson, Melfort's Marco Lopez snuck another shot through a maze of bodies past Delorme, restoring the Mustangs' lead.

Ryley Lanthier would add an empty net goal with less than two minutes left to ice the win.

Delorme had a strong night in the Bomber net, making 37 saves, but still got stuck with the L. Parkinson stopped 34 of 35 Bomber shots.

The Mustangs have won all three games they've played against the Bombers this season, with another three scheduled between the two teams in 2020. Against all other opponents, the Bombers are 16-4-2-0 with 34 points in 22 games.

The game's result further jumbles up the SJHL and Sherwood Division leadership picture. The Bombers, who sat in sole possession of first in the Sherwood and second in the league after Friday's road win, are now tied with Melfort for those spots with 35 points each. La Ronge sits third in the division with 31 points, while the Hawks, who didn't play Saturday, remain last with 30 points, still in seventh place in the league. 

Humboldt, who lost in overtime to Notre Dame Saturday night, has joined Melfort and Flin Flon in a three-way tie for second place in the SJHL. All three teams have 35 points.

The Bombers will head out down Highway 106 for a gruelling southern road swing, playing four games in five nights against Melville, Notre Dame, Estevan and Weyburn Nov. 26-30, then playing La Ronge on the road Dec. 6. The Bombers will only play two more home games before the holiday break – Dec. 7 against Nipawin and Dec. 21 against the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

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