Bombers gut out 5-3 win over surging Broncos

A lethal powerplay and a final push in the final moments gave the Flin Flon Bombers just enough to squeeze out a 5-3 win over Humboldt.

The Bombers started scoring early and often, getting three goals in the early stages of the first period. On a powerplay minutes into the game, Cole Rafuse opened the scoring, sneaking one through Bronco netminder Michael Harroch. Three minutes later, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve pounced on an open puck in the slot and scored, giving the Bombers a 2-0 lead on two straight powerplays.

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Reid Robertson provided some secondary offence mere moments later, sliding another puck just past Harroch. Barely halfway through the first period, the Bombers led 3-0.

However, momentum swung Humboldt's way late in the frame. Shortly after a Bomber penalty, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve was assessed a 10-minute misconduct for a mouthguard infraction. A handful of seconds after the Humboldt 5-on-3 began, the Broncos scored – Zach McIntyre tipped home a Jackson Bohan point shot to bring the Broncos within two.

Just before intermission, Humboldt struck again. After Greyson Cameron dangled through the Bomber defence, Reid Arnold capitalized, tapping the puck past an outstretched Jacob Delorme. The goal marked Cameron's first point since recovering following the Broncos' bus crash in 2017. Cameron is the last remaining player on the team who was with the club that day.

Early in the second, the Broncos tied the game at three. An errant point pass by Alec Malo was picked off by Tristan Shewchuk, who made no mistake on an open, shorthanded breakaway.

The two sides switched to a mostly back-and-forth game for the next two periods, with both teams having chances to gain the lead and flubbing all opportunities.

Late in the third, the Bomber attack gained some energy and pressed hard on Harroch and Humboldt. Finally, with less than three minutes to go, Harroch sprawled to make a save and, before he could recover position, Rafuse found Malo across the crease. Malo made up for his earlier blunder with his second goal, firing the puck into a wide-open net.

Chase Haygarth finished up all affairs with an empty-netter, getting an assist on the play from twin brother Easton.

In the end, Delorme got his third straight win with a 37-save showing. Harroch made 40 stops in the loss.

Following the game, the Bombers' first line of Houle-Villeneuve, Rafuse and Malo sat first, second and fifth in SJHL scoring with nine, eight and six points respectively. The Bombers as a whole have mustered up 36 individual points through three games – the first line has 23 of those, including all but three goals.

Houle-Villeneuve has scored more goals through three games than the rest of his teammates combined.

The Bombers and Broncos will meet up at the Whitney Forum for a rematch Saturday night. Following that, both teams will head to Warman for the annual SJHL Showcase. The Bombers will face the Weyburn Red Wings Monday, then will suit up against the Battlefords North Stars Tuesday.

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