Big goals, big hits and a big win were on the menu for the Flin Flon Bombers at home Saturday night, beating the Nipawin Hawks 5-3.
In the the first period, Dane Hirst opened the scoring with a point blast on the powerplay, sending scores of teddy bears over the glass during the Bombers' Teddy Bear Toss night. Nipawin responded with a goal of their own seconds later when Zach Cox tipped one past Jacob Delorme. Later in the frame, Jaxon White won a border battle on a powerplay and fed Easton Haygarth, who sent the puck home with a backhand beauty at an impossible angle to give the Bombers a 2-1 lead.
Going into the second period, the Bombers had momentum, but the Hawks stormed right back. Jordan Simoneau snuck one in far side on Delorme to tie it up. Jaeden Mercier got the Bombers back on top with a goalmouth bang-in, but the Hawks tied the game up with Davis Chorney capitalizing on a turnover.
Beginning the third tied at three all, the Bomber offence got to work. Caleb Franklin capitalized on a text-book give and go play to give Flin Flon the lead. A pair of big hits by the Bombers, first one by Easton Haygarth and another by Donavan Houle-Villeneuve, drew the ire of the Hawks. Houle-Villeneuve's hit caught Carson Ehrhardt from behind, bloodying his nose. Nipawin captain Jake Tremblay stepped in and took Houle-Villeneuve to the ice with punches and a takedown. Both were ejected - Houle-Villeneuve for a check from behind, Tremblay for instigating and both for the fight.
In the late stages of the third period, Easton Haygarth found the twine for an empty netter to seal it. After a Hawk slashed his arm following the goal, Haygarth layed him out with a check, causing another fracas with only seconds to go and the game decided. Former Bomber Dawson McKenzie, playing in his first game in Flin Flon as a Hawk, was sent to the showers for spearing a Bomber and throwing an object. Delorme got the win with 38 saves, while Nipawin goalie Ross Hawryluk made 44 stops.
The game ended as a Bomber home win, giving the club their second and third points on the weekend. The Bombers moved up on the league-leading Battlefords North Stars, who lost their fourth-straight game Saturday night. Battlefords still sits first in the SJHL standings with 54 points, but the Bombers now sit second overall with 46. The Melfort Mustangs, the Bombers' closest competition, currently sit third in the league and second in the Sherwood Division behind the Bombers with 41 points.
Clearly ahead in the Sherwood Division race, the Bombers will play five more games before the holiday break, with four of them on the road against Humboldt, Battlefords and La Ronge, before ending the first part of the season with a game at home against La Ronge Dec. 21.
Home may be where the heart is, but it hasn't been where the Bombers have had their best results. The Bombers currently sport a 11-5 home record, second best in the league, but have a 10-1-4 record on the road, only missing out on a point in one game. The Bombers have scored 18 of a possible 20 points in their last 10 road games.
Cole Rafuse and Alec Malo both still sit tied for second in SJHL scoring with 52 points each in 31 and 30 games respectively. Only Yorkton Terrier Chantz Petruic is ahead of the pair, with a whopping 68 points in 34 games.