Bombers ring in new year with 9-1 Ice Wolves stomping

The Flin Flon Bombers may have ended 2018 on a sour note, but they started 2019 with a bang.

One night after dropping a 6-3 game to La Ronge on New Year's Eve, the Bombers returned with a convincing 9-1 win over the Ice Wolves at home on Jan. 1.

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The New Year's Eve game saw Ice Wolves leading scorer Zach Bannister score a hat trick, with extra goals from Jake Gudjonson, Daunte Fortner and Jordan Mish. Ryder Richmond scored his first SJHL goal for the Bombers, who also got goals from Dawson McKenzie and Brandson Hein. It was La Ronge's first win in six tries against the Bombers this season.

One night after that loss, the Bombers came scoring early and often, tallying six goals in the first period alone. Hein added his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season in the first frame, along with markers from Donavan Houle-Villeneuve, Caleb Franklin and Nate Hooper. La Ronge starter Daniel Davidson only lasted 13 minutes in the Ice Wolves net, making 10 stops on 14 shots.

Davidson's replacement, Jordan Frey, didn't fare much better. In a game where La Ronge hit the ice with a short roster and no trainer on the bench, the Bombers took full advantage. Bomber trainer Jason Savill took charge of medical duties for the Ice Wolves, including hopping across to the away side's bench twice to assist injured players.

Houle-Villeneuve scored his second of the night, followed by Reid Robertson banging home his first SJHL goal and Franklin plowing his second of the night past Frey. Jake Gudjonson stopped the bleeding for a short time in the early third, but Daylan Marchi made it a 9-1 score late in the third frame.

Jacob Delorme made 21 out of 22 saves in a quiet night in the Flin Flon crease, while Frey and Davidson faced a combined 57 shots.

Flin Flon's kickoff for 2019 will continue with four straight road games - a brief road trip to Yorkton and Melville on Jan. 4 and 5, followed by matchups with division rivals Nipawin and Melfort on Jan. 8 and Jan. 11. The Bombers' next home game is set for Jan. 12, when the Mustangs come to town.

The Bomber win ends a three game losing skid for the Bombers, who limped into the Christmas break with a 2-3 record in December. Flin Flon sits third in the Sherwood Division with 42 points, behind both Nipawin and Melfort. Nipawin leads the SJHL with 52 points, while Melfort sits tied for second with 50. La Ronge, meanwhile, remains in the league basement with 17 total points in 37 games.

Some Bombers are currently on pace to shatter team records this season. Hein moved into a tie for second in overall SJHL scoring with 56 points and 33 goals in 33 games. By contrast, last year's SJHL leading goal scorer, ex-Battlefords North Star Layne Young, finished the season with 35 goals in 57 games. Hein is on pace for a 57 goal, 96 point season - if those trends continue, Hein will break the Bombers' modern day season scoring record, set by Reid MacLeod in 2007-2008, by seven points. Hein could also be the Bombers' first 50+ goal scorer since the team rejoined the SJHL in 1984.

Not to be outdone, Bomber captain Nate Hooper currently leads the SJHL in assists with 39 in 34 games, a 66 assist pace over a full season. The current Bomber SJHL assist record, set by Todd Hornung in 2000-01, is 55.

Defenceman Calvon Boots also stands on pace to make some history. Through 32 games, Boots has 6 goals, 28 assists and 34 points. Boots' pace for both assists and points will eclipse the team's current records for a defenceman in each category, set by Michael Young in 2008-09. At his current rate of play, Boots is on pace for 45 assists and 56 points.

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