Late game heroics push Bombers to 6-5 shootout win

It came down to the wire, but the Flin Flon Bombers got the job done Thursday, knocking down the Humboldt Broncos 6-5 in a shootout.

The game was a wild one right off the bat, with Bryson Cecconi finding the net past Bomber netminder Kyle Jessiman on the first shot he faced. Matt Raymond, not to be outdone, returned the favour seconds later, scoring his first SJHL goal to tie things up.

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Humboldt went on a run, first getting a sneaky rebound goal from Nicksha Eric, then getting a top-corner snipe from Cecconi later in the period. Jessiman's night was done after goal number three, making eight saves on 11 shots.

Late in the first, Cole Rafuse got credit for a powerplay goal that bounced off a defender's skate and went top corner on Broncos goalie Brendan Forman. After 20, Humboldt led 3-2.

Rafuse added another weird one early in the second, tying things up after batting the puck out of the air. The stalemate wouldn't last long though, as a weird bounce sent a puck up and over Bomber goalie Jacob Delorme. Humboldt's Logan Kurki got credit on the scoresheet for the go-ahead marker.

With less than a minute to go in the second, Alec Malo fired one cleanly past Forman to tying the game up once more, making it 4-4 heading into the third.

The early third period brought a skirmish in the Humboldt zone, leading to a fight. Flin Flon's Cole Vardy squared up with Bronco Josh Paulhus and promptly fed him his lunch. After a sufficient buttkicking, Paulhus and Vardy - four inches and 45 pounds heavier than his adversary - hit the showers.

Humboldt struck next, thanks to Tristan Shewchuk, who slid one home on a Bronco powerplay and gave his team their fourth lead of the night. The Bombers kept pressing throughout the period in response, but came up mostly empty.

That is, of course, until the last two minutes. With Forman down in the crease, felled by a teammate, and a feeding frenzy in the slot, Tristan Lemyre pounced on a loose puck and banged it home, tying the game with little time remaining.

With both sides deadlocked, five minutes of 3-on-3 OT was on the cards. The Bombers controlled possession for much of the extra time, but couldn't finish the job. Humboldt couldn't close the deal either, sending the Bombers to their first shootout of the year.

Humboldt had first crack, with Kurki going glove on Delorme, who matched that with a save. On the other end, Malo skated in on Forman and found the five-hole, putting the Bombers up. Both Karter McNarland and Donavan Houle-Villeneuve missed their chances, leaving it up to Shewchuk to continue the game. Delorme got just a piece of the puck with his skate, forcing it wide and giving the Bombers a big win.

Delorme is credited with the win, making 21 saves in two-plus periods of relief. Forman was shelled, making 52 saves on the night in regulation time alone.

The win puts the Bombers back even with Melfort for the Sherwood Division lead and second overall in the SJHL with 31 points. The Bombers still have a game in hand on the Mustangs.

Flin Flon will be back in action at the Whitney Forum Friday night to face the Notre Dame Hounds.

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