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Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Playoff Eve

By Flin Flon Bombers, 03/06/14, 11:15AM CST

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A look at how the Flin Flon Bombers and Estevan Bruins matchup on the eve of game 1 in their first round matchup.

The Flin Flon Bombers will return to action on Friday night, when they visit the Estevan Bruins and play game 1 of the SJHL Wild Card best of 5 series. 

After being out of a playoff spot for close to a month and trading away the likes of Cam Blair, Devin Buffalo and Dillan McCombie, the team played some determined hockey down the stretch and made the playoffs clinching the final spot on their second last game of the season.

The team went 6-4-1-0 in the month of February and had players step up to score goals, something the team was lacking earlier on in the season.  Rookie Simon Hofley was solid down the stretch and the defense, lead by the SJHL’s Sherwood Dvision’s Top Defenseman Danys Chartrand and 1993 born Brock Hounsell, stepped up when needed.

Here’s a look at how the teams matchup and what the SJHL website says about both clubs.

Flin Flon Bombers
10th SJHL (3rd Sherwood Division) - 23-30-1-2 - 139 GF - 169 GA
Home - 12-12-1-1
Road - 9-18-0-1
Last 10 Games - 6-3-1-0
Power Play - 13.3% (10th SJHL)
Penalty Kill - 82.9% (8th SJHL)

Estevan Bruins
7th SJHL (3rd Viterra Division) - 27-20-3-6 - 164 GF - 173 GA
Home - 13-7-3-5
Road - 14-13-0-1
Last 10 Game - 4-5-0-1
Power Play - 20.4% (2nd SJHL)
Penalty Kill - 84.0% (5th SJHL)

Playoff Schedule:
March 7 Flin Flon @ Estevan - 102.9 CFAR
March 8 Flin Flon @ Estevan - 102.9 CFAR
March 10 Estevan @ Flin Flon - 102.9 CFAR
March 11* Estevan @ Flin Flon - 102.9 CFAR
March 13* Flin Flon @ Estevan - 102.9 CFAR
*If Necessary

Season Series:
October 16 Flin Flon Bombers 3 @ Estevan Bruins 1 - Boxscore
October 24 Estevan Bruins 2 @ Flin Flon Bombers - Boxscore
December 7 Estevan Bruins 5 @ Flin Flon Bombers 2 - Boxscore
February 1 Flin Flon Bombers 1 @ Estevan Bruins 7 - Boxscore

Goal:
The Bruins have more depth, but depth shouldn’t be needed in a short series.  Matt Gibney is a 20-year-old veteran who has been pretty consistent all year.  Brett Lewchuk has done a nice job behind him when getting a chance to play.  For the Bombers, rookie Simon Hofley has excellent pedigree from the Telus Cup last year, but he’s untested as a junior.  However, it should be noted when the season was on the line, he was fantastic.  Casey Parker backs him up and has been known to be streaky.  Don’t rule out seeing Connor Ingram either.  The PA Mintos are in danger of being upset in the SMAAAHL playoffs and one would think the Bombers would be quick to add him.  

Defense:  
The main cogs for the Bruins are underrated.  David Robertson, Zach Douglas, Nick Egan, and Nolan Nicholas are going to get the bulk of the work.  All four play a nice two way game.  There’s not a lot of depth behind him, although Kyle Bird is a veteran anybody woud like to have to eat up some depth minutes.  RT Rice has shown steady improvement.  For the Bombers, Danys Chartrand leads the way, but he’s not a big time powerplay quarterback.  He simply goes about his business and makes very few errors.  Brock Hounsell and AJ Kapcheck are the only other veterans on the blueline, with the always improving Cole Nichols and Rob Cameron rounding out the blueline with Simon Desrosiers.

Forwards:  
The duo of Austin Daae and Tanner Froese ranks as one of the best scoring threat combinations in the SJHL.  In a series where coaches can game plan on a daily basis, they will be tested to stay effective.  If neutralized, a healthy Ben Johhstone becomes a big factor, as does Jason Duret as well as Michael Sagen, who were both brought in mid-season to alleviate some of the pressure from Daae and Froese.  Look for Corey Kosloski to see a lot of duty with Daae and Froese and it will be hoped Austin Roesslein can continue his breakout.  Watch for Lynden Pastachak, a gifted rookie who battled the injury bug, to possibly be a factor too.  Flin Flon really doesn’t have a line that scares you, although Erik Pedersen and Austin Evans started to enjoy more success in the final ten games when the Bombers made their push.  Austin Calladine is an 18-year-old with major junior experience who could emerge, while Parker Evans-Campbell and Connor Bucsis are some other faces you may see who contribute as part of the committee.  If there is a sleeper, look to Brody Robinson, who saw his production dip in year two as a junior.  But, the playoffs are a chance to wipe the slate clean.