Hottest team in the SJ? It’s the Bombers. The squad won their sixth-straight game and are one win away from a flawless southern road trip after beating Notre Dame 5-3 Friday night.
While the Hounds are out of a playoff spot, the game was even through two periods. Flin Flon got off on a good foot, with Ryder Richmond scoring less than two minutes into the game. Hardy Wagner tied things up for the Hounds shortly afterward, sending the two teams back to the dressing rooms tied.
Sho Takai gave the Hounds a brief lead early in the second period, but Cole Vardy tied the game back up thirty seconds later with his first SJHL goal. Later in the frame, Tristan Lemyre gave Flin Flon a 3-2 lead. The Bombers dressed only five regular defenders on the evening, enlisting midget affiliate player Noah Kuntz as the sixth man up – Kuntz earned his first junior point with an assist on Lemyre’s goal.
The Bombers’ lead would last for only a few minutes, with Olivier Lepine scoring on a powerplay with less than a minute left in the second. Moments later, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve had a penalty shot chance, but it was turned aside.
In the third, the Bombers ran away with the game, thanks to the team’s top forwards. Houle-Villeneuve, making his return to the lineup after missing the past few games, scored an unassisted snipe to give the Bombers a lead. Then, with seconds left on the clock, Cole Rafuse added some insurance, giving Flin Flon a 5-3 win.
Cal Schell earned the win in the Bomber crease, making 21 saves during a slow night for the Notre Dame offence. The Bombers threw 37 shots at Notre Dame goalie Riley Kohonick, who saved all but four of them.
The Bombers became the second team in the SJHL to hit the 70 point mark, sitting second in the league with 71 after the win. The Nipawin Hawks sit well back, both in the overall and the division standings, with 59 points.
According to current points percentages, the Bombers would face the seventh-seed Humboldt Broncos in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
Since coming back from the holiday break with a loss at home to La Ronge, the Bombers have gone on a tear, going 10-1-0 since. The Bombers have the league’s best record in 2020, up at the top with league-leading Battlefords’ 10-2-0.
Flin Flon ends their southern road trip with a chance to go flawless for the second time this season against Estevan Feb. 8.