Three games into exhibition season, the Flin Flon Bombers have not gotten the results they may have hoped. The team's preseason has started with three losses in four nights, including a 6-3 defeat on home ice Wednesday against the Swan Valley Stampeders.
Things started out well for the maroon and white early, scoring three quick goals in the first period. Easton Haygarth capitalized on a feed from twin brother Chase to open the scoring, while Peter White pounced on a bad turnover to extend the lead. Moments later, another giveaway in front of the Stamps' net gave Matt Raymond an easy goal.
While the first period showed signs of success, the following two did not. Flin Flon proceeded to give up six unanswered goals in the second period alone. Parker Johnson and Trevor Schroder each scored twice for the Stampeders, who also received goals from Frazer Dodd and Jamie Valentino. Bomber netminder Tyler Peterson was chased from the net halfway through the net halfway through the second period, replaced with J.P. Mella.
In total, the Bombers tallied 16 shots in the last 40 minutes, while the Stamps recorded nearly one shot per minute.
Two former Bombers in the Swan Valley lineup, forward Mike Wong and defenceman Brady Morrison, finished two assists each.
The loss punctuates what's been a rough preseason for the Bombers. The team started the preseason run Sept. 1 in a game against the division rival Nipawin Hawks, losing 4-3.
The Bombers typically bring a youthful lineup into their first preseason game and the young guns paid off early, getting three early goals from Derek Koivisto, Alexander Taylor and Rhett Evjen. However, the tide turned and the Hawks got three goals of their own, tying the game late and getting the win in a shootout.
Sept. 3 saw the return of the Battle of the North, with the first leg between the Bombers and the OCN Blizzard played in OCN. The Blizzard came away with a 5-3 win. Three early goals from Dustin Mozdzen, Tobias Odjick and Kobe Campbell sunk the Bombers' chances early. Goals would later come in for Flin Flon from Adam Victorino, Shayde Peterson and Jaedon Mercier, but a late powerplay goal from OCN's Rylan Bartley iced a Blizzard win.
The Bombers will continue their preseason with three games in three days, including a return visit to Swan River to face the Stampeders Sept. 5. Following that, the Bombers will play two home games, first against Nipawin Sept. 6, then against OCN Sept. 7.
Bomber hopeful Jonah Henderson was on the receiving end of a nasty injury during the OCN game, taking a skate blade to the face. Henderson left the game and was taken to hospital for stitches. Another Bomber hopeful, Tristan Lemyre, received a game misconduct against the Blizzard after a head check.
Through their first three games, the Bombers have sent five goalies into the crease - Hunter Lolacher, Mella, Peterson, Rylan Potkonjak and Jack Rekrutiak. Presumptive opening night starter Jacob Delorme, the only returning goalie from last year's team, has not seen preseason game action.
Defenceman Jack Michell has returned to the Bombers, playing sparingly in the team's game against Swan Valley. The 18-year-old from Saskatoon played 17 regular season games with the Bombers last season and suited up for all nine of the team's playoff games. Michell was at camp with the WHL's Prince George Cougars.
Out of who remains at camp, the Bombers currently have five 1999-born players - forwards Caleb Franklin, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve, Cole Rafuse and Peter White and defenceman Mason Martin. Rafuse and White have not suited up previously for the Bombers.