Since joining the Flin Flon Bombers in January, Brandson Hein has had an immediate impact.
The 19-year-old from Winnipeg was reassigned to the junior A team from the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips. With the Bombers, Hein has scored six goals and recorded 14 points in 11 games.
“I think what has allowed me to be successful so far would be that [head coach] Mike Reagan has really given me all the opportunity I could have asked for since I’ve gotten here – a top line role, power play, lots of minutes, stuff I haven’t done the last couple years and I thank him for that,” Hein said.
The 195-pound forward stands at just over six feet. He scored two goals against Humboldt in late January and recorded three points versus La Ronge in early February. Hein has had four multi-point games in 10 contests with the Bombers.
“Hein has provided us with another scoring threat and a guy that can play big minutes with us,” Reagan said.
In Flin Flon, Hein has been reunited with his former Winnipeg Thrashers midget AAA linemate Nate Hooper. Hein said it is fun playing on the same line again with Hooper. It’s a sentiment that Hooper agreed with.
“It’s great playing with him,” said Hooper, who is in his second season with the Bombers. “We have great chemistry and get along really well. It feels like we picked up where we
The duo are playing in Flin Flon together a bit later than they initially thought they would. Both signed in 2016. In their final midget seasons, the duo had played with the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League as affiliated players. However, they opted to sign with the Bombers. Hein said Flin Flon had not been really on his radar until a scout spoke to him after a game.
“One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was in Flin Flon for a visit,” he said. “I practised with the team and got to watch a playoff game. The atmosphere for a junior team really won me over and the team was really successful.”
However, Hein ended up cracking the roster of the major junior Silvertips. In a season and a half in Washington state, Hein had 12 points and eight goals in 78 games.
He said it gave him a taste of the big league and helped him in many ways. Off the ice, he learned about game preparation, watching video on opponents, workouts, and handling the media, public appearances, and the fans.
“On the ice the number one thing I’d say I’d take away from the whole experience was learning the defensive side of the game, the systems, and how every little detail from doing a simple thing correctly can affect or change the game,” Hein said. “It’s shaped me to be a better all-around player and think the game faster and smarter.”
Coming from Manitoba, Hein enjoyed living close to the ocean in Everett. However, he is greatly enjoying his time in Flin Flon.
“I think the best part about playing for the Bombers is probably being a part of the history of the team,” Hein said. “You look at our rink – how many years it’s been the home of the Bombers and all the memorabilia hanging on the walls. All the great players that have come through the system and the great seasons past teams have had. It makes you really proud that this is the destination your chose to play junior hockey.”
Friday, Feb. 16 at Melfort
Melfort 3, Flin Flon 2
Bombers Scorers: Doug Johnson, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve
Mustangs Scorers: Kalem Zary, Colin Schmidt, and Jake Misskey
Goalies: Brenden Newton, FF, 34 saves on 37 shots; Evan Plotnik, Melfort, 25 on 27
Notes: Schmidt scored with a second remaining to give Melfort the win. It was the third straight game the teams had played each other. The squads had split the previous two games. Melfort led 1-0 after the first period with Houle-Villeneuve tying things up in the second. In the third period, Johnson put the Bombers up 2-1 but Zary scored 24 seconds later. Johnson’s goal was his first one of the season and his first point. Houle-Villeneuve had two points.
Donavan Houle-Villeneuve had two points in the Bombers’ lone game last week. On the season, as of Sunday, the Montreal product has seven goals and 17 points in 49 games.
Odds ’n’ Ends
The Bombers play the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League-leading Nipawin Hawks three times this week. The first game in Flin Flon was on Monday after The Reminder deadline. The two teams clash again on Friday the Whitney Forum. The third game is Saturday in Nipawin. … Heading onto the series against the Hawks, Reagan said he is “stressing to clean up our mistakes and be more responsible with the puck.” … The Bombers entered Monday’s game with a 19-23-3-4 record. They had clinched a playoff spot and sat ninth in the SJHL. … Nipawin was 38-6-2-4 heading into Monday. The Hawks were coming off a 7-3 home loss to Melfort. It was Nipawin’s first loss in regulation since the Mustangs beat them 2-1 on Nov. 10.
“I thought we played hard and a pretty good road game - just need to eliminate the mental lapses that are costing us.”
— Bombers head coach Mike Reagan on the Melfort game