There was 1,250 fans in the seats of the historic Whitney Forum to see the Flin Flon Bombers open up the 2013-14 SJHL season, Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan is looking for the same a year later.
There was some hype to the 13-14 edition of the Bombers. They had fire power returning and a stud in goal, but some injures, a slow start and a fire sale at the SJHL Trade Deadline saw the core of the team change and the season end much earlier than some saw at the start.
“It was a trying season,” commented Reagan. “We thought we had a club that was going to contend and then something happened and even close to the deadline we felt that we could make some waves. But we re-grouped and made those deals to set us up for this season to really make our mark.”
The club did put up a fight down the stretch, make the playoffs due to a no quit, hard work attitude, and almost up end the Estevan Bruins in five games.”
“We had that lunch box, hard hat, mentality down the stretch and into the playoffs,” added Reagan. “This town is a hard working town and the fans at the end really appreciated the way we were playing.”
It’s been said time and time again about the trades that molded the 2014-15 team, but until the preseason, no one really knew how the team was going to look.
In goal, a new look Simon Hofley will be relied on to hold down the fort. Hofley had better numbers as a rookie then star goalie Devin Buffalo did as a rookie with the Bombers. After the departure of Buffalo, Hofley went 8-3 and has some people feel he’s in the upper echelon of SJHL goalies.
The biggest upgrade this season is on the blue line. Back are veteran rearguards Danys Chartrand, Robbie Cameron and AJ Kapcheck. Also back is WHL return Dustin Perrialt who will play way more games than the 11 he did a season ago.
The club welcomes Tanner Lihchynsky, who won a Canalta Cup, Western Canadian Championships and a Royal Bank Cup last season with the Yorkton Terriers, and Braden Lacoursiere, who at only 18 has a full season of SJHL hockey under his belt.
Upfront the lines of Parker Evans-Campbell, Erik Pedersen and newcomer Chris Raukman (Drumheller Dragons) will be looked to for the offense and the line of Tyson Empey, Captain Dean Allison and Austin Evans was a nice surprise during the pre season a should continue with the offense. Also looked to chip in will be second year Seamus Maguire
New added Logan Harland, Alex Smith and 6’5 Michael Knaub will add some sandpaper and some energy.
Another nice surprise, especially in the last game of the exhibition schedule was the play of local products Evan Akkerman and Zach Garrett. Both played physical and had some scoring chances.
Starting the season off is a home and home series against the Nipawin Hawks. The Hawks lost a lot of scoring power from last year’s team. Tad Kozun and Mitch Doell aged out and fan favorite and Bomber pest Taylor Balog was traded during the offseason.
But you can’t count out a Doug Johnson coached team.
Returning goalie Joe O’Brien is back in the Hawks cage. The 95 born goalie posted a 2.57 goals against average and a 0.927 save percentage last season.
Also back are 1994 born forwards Carter Danczak and Garret Lockeridge who combined for 54 points last season, not bad for someone not named Kozun or Balog.
Also back is the trio of Carter Coben, Kris Spriggs and Evan Mignault, all of which had over 20 points for the Hawks.
The action starts at 7:20 with player introductions. The teams hit the ice in Nipawin at 6:30 local time on Saturday. Both games can be heard on 102.9 CFAR.