The semifinals continue on in The Reminder's SJHL playoff simulation, with both Flin Flon and La Ronge aiming to tie up their own series.
In a series where both the away team had won every game and the team that had scored first had won every game, getting on the board early was crucial. Sadly for the Bombers, it was Melfort who got on the board first, with Adam Nobes finding space on a bloop shot under Jacob Delorme’s blocker to open the scoring. Melfort led 1-0 after one period.
After a tricky penalty kill to start the second, Melfort’s Kyle Bosch took a tripping penalty, allowing the Bombers to strike on the power play. They did that shortly after, courtesy a point shot tipped by Zach Bannister in front.
Following the goal, Melfort’s Christian Albertson took two penalties on the same play, leading to a four-minute Bomber powerplay. Melfort was able to kill off the four-minute span, but Donavan Houle-Villeneuve scored not long after Albertson escaped the box, giving the Bombers a 2-1 lead.
Houle-Villeneuve added a third goal in the third period after ripping a slapshot from 40 feet out.
Melfort would not go quietly into that goodnight, however. When Colton Schell found Austin Nault near Delorme’s net, Nault slid the puck past Flin Flon’s goalie to make it a 3-2 game.
With a minute to go, Melfort goalie Shawn Parkinson came to the bench and Alec Malo was assessed a hooking penalty. The ‘Stangs would have a 6-on-4 advantage for as long as needed, but the Bomber defence stood tall. Jack Michell played the entire minute, clearing the puck out of harm’s way four separate times. A final shot from the point by Nolan Kadachuk was easily snared by Delorme, who played the puck into the corner to run out the clock. The Bombers won 3-2 and tied the series at 2 all.
Delorme made 39 saves in the win, while Parkinson, recovering from a 7-2 Bomber rout in Game 3, made 37 stops.
With Battlefords ahead 2-1 in the series, La Ronge would need a big game to get back in the thick of things. The Ice Wolves got exactly that, starting early in the first with a backhand goal from Booker Chacalias. In the second period, La Ronge’s offence exploded with goals by Jake Gudjonson, Chad McIlwain, Chacalias, Stewart Pond and Grant Longtin. Chacalias added another goal late in the period, earning himself a hat-trick. While Quintin Loon-Stewardson was able to stop the shutout, La Ronge was up 7-1 after 40 minutes.
Chacalias was able to find the twine again, scoring his fourth goal of the game early in the third. It was simply one of those nights where the bounces were not going Battlefords’ way – none of them. La Ronge forced several key turnovers, including three that ended directly in goals.
When the final horn sounded, La Ronge had tied the series at two with a huge 8-1 win. Ice Wolves goalie Liam McGarva made 36 saves in the win, while Kristian Lyon and Adam Dmyterko split a 32 save game.
With both series now tied, the focus goes toward Games 5 and 6. Game 5 in both the Bombers/Mustangs series and the North Stars/Ice Wolves will take place Saturday night in Flin Flon and North Battleford, while Game 6s with take place in Melfort and La Ronge Tuesday. Game 7s, if required, would be played Thursday.
The Reminder is simulating the final two series of the 2020 SJHL playoffs. Full wrap-ups of each game can be found at thereminder.ca, on The Reminder’s social media accounts and in our print editions.