Simon Hofley is proving he can fill the big shoes left over after star goalie Devin Buffalo was shipped to Alberta at the trade deadline. Hofley (Ottawa, ON) turned aside 36 Battlefords shots for his second career SJHL shutout, helping the Flin Flon Bombers win their third straight 2-0, in North Battleford.
Both goals came from the Flin Flon blueline with Cole Nichols opening the scoring 6:40 into the first period, firing the puck into an empty net past starting Stars’ goalie Michael Gudmandson. For Nichols it was his first career SJHL goal.
Flin Flon increased the lead to two when Simon Desrosiers found the cage through a screen on the power play three minutes later. The pucked looked to have re-directed off forward Tyson Empey in front, who was screening Gudmandson.
Former Stars forward Austin Evans was also a difference maker in last night’s game. After taking some abuse by his former team when they came to Flin Flon late last month, the 1994 born forward assisted on both Bomber goals and had a few chances to increase the score. He had the long assist on Nichols with AJ Kapcheck picking up the other helper on Desrosiers.
Flin Flon out chanced and outshot the Stars in the first period, 16-14. Battleford would out shoot the Bombers overall in the game, 36-27, including a 13-5 advantage in the third period. Hofley had to be sharp.
“He was big for us again,” said Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan. In the three straight wins by Flin Flon, they have been outshot in all three by a total of 133-96.
For Battlefords, it was the first time the team has lost in regulation in 14 straight games.
“In my eyes, we snapped their 15 game winning streak,” commented Reagan. “They lost on Saturday to Estevan, but it was in a shootout, this is big for our guys.”
The win now has the Bombers sitting only two points behind the Nipawin Hawks for the last playoff spot in the SJHL. The two teams meet at the Whitney Forum on Saturday night.
“We can’t look that far ahead right now,” advised Reagan. “The boys hare happy right now, I told them I’m proud of them, but we have to shift our focus on La Ronge and tomorrow (Wednesday) night.”
Flin Flon finishes up their two game road swing tonight with a return trip to La Ronge, where Flin Flon stole the first game of their currently three game winning streak, 4-3.
ICE CHIPS: Flin Flon was 1 for 6 on the power play with Battlefords going 0 for 3. --- Tonight’s game was the first time since his trade to North Battleford that former Bomber Cam Blair was held pointless at home. --- Flin Flon is now 3-0 since the departure of Assistant Coach Emery Olauson. In that time Reagan has used two assistant coaches (Chris Bortis and Jon Klassen) and coached one game by himself. Olauson took a Head Coaching job with Fayetteville of the SPHL.