The Flin Flon Bombers went into action on Nov. 15 missing their leading goal-scorer Donavan Houle-Villeneuve and top defenseman Mason Martin. That didn't stop the home team from cruising to a 9-3 victory over the Notre Dame Hounds.
Houle-Villeneuve was visiting the University of Maine, and in his absence Cole Rafuse took over. Rafuse picked up a hat trick, added an assist, and was named first star of the game. The performance was good enough to vault him into third in league scoring, only behind linemate Alec Malo, who picked up three assists on the night, and Yorkton's Chantz Petruic.
Houle-Villeneuve was replaced on the top line with a relatively fresh face, as Tristin Lemyre slotted into his spot. Lemyre had his best game since returning from injury two weeks ago, scoring a great goal, and adding an assist.
On the back end, Martin's absence due to knee swelling was mitigated by a new addition, as Dane Hirst made his debut appearence in Maroon and White. Hirst, who Flin Flon traded for this week, looked comfortable moving the puck, and was leaned on early and often. He started the game, and got top powerplay and penalty kill minutes.
Head Coach Mike Reagan said in his pre-game notes he expects Martin, Flin Flon's captain, to be back in action next week.
The game was out of reach for Notre Dame before the first period ended. Chase Haygarth scored two and a half minutes into the game, Jaeden Mercier and Matt Raymond both picked up their second goals of the season, and Rafuse scored shorthanded to give the home team a 4-0 lead. While the Hounds would cut into it before the period ended, those four goals would be enough to pick up the win.
The first intermission would spell the end for Notre Dame's starting goalie, Riley Kohonick, who faced 22 shots. Logan Dyck replaced Kohonick to start the second period. He didn't fare much better, facing 35 shots on the night, surrendering five goals..
After coming in to relieve Kyle Jessiman and picking up a shootout win on Nov. 14, Jacob Delorme got the start for Flin Flon. He was steady, making 28 saves.
Delorme was perfect when neither team had a man in the penalty box, only giving up two powerplay goals, and one short-handed goal. The two teams combined to score five powerplay goals, and two shorthanded goals.
Flin Flon and Notre Dame went blow for blow in the second period. Chase Haygarth picked up his second of the game, and Lemyre scored his first since returning from injury. Qaritaq Kusugak-Clark and Braydon Iwaschuk replied for the Hounds.
Cole Rafuse ended any hopes of a Notre Dame comeback two mintues into the third period, with his second of the night. He added the hat trick goal on the powerplay a few minutes later, and Billy Klymchuk chipped in his third of the season to round out the scoring.
The win vaulted Flin Flon over Melfort into first place in the Sherwood division, and second place in the SJHL. Melfort faces Kindersley on Nov. 16.
Flin Flon will start next weekend on the road, heading into Nipawin on Nov. 22, before returning to the friendly confines of the Whitney Forum to face Melfort, in what will be a critical Sherwood divison matchup.