Hockey is a game of numbers. Tonight will be no different when it will take game number 58 to decide were the Flin Flon Bombers will start their first round playoff series.
All playoff matchups have been set with exception to 5th and 6th place and both teams battling it out will be in action tonight.
Flin Flon will take on the Nipawin Hawks; the team they are jockeying with the Estevan Bruins will take on the Notre Dame Hounds. A combination of one Flin Flon point, or an Estevan loss, will have the Bombers finish fifth in the SJHL and take on the Hawks, a Flin Flon regulation loss will have the Bombers drop to sixth and play the Weyburn Red Wings.
Flin Flon comes into tonight winners of two straight and six of their last 10 games. They are fresh off a sweep of a home and home series against the La Ronge Ice Wolves.
Nipawin comes in 7-1-1-1 and haven’t loss in regulation in seven games, a 5-3 loss February 13th against Estevan.
To say that there will be a playoff feel is an understatement. Flin Flon holds a 3-1-0-1 record against the Hawks this year with the latest a 4-3 Flin Flon shootout win back on January 19th in Nipawin.
With the end of the regular season near, let’s take a look at some other numbers that have shaped this year’s edition of the Bombers.
46 – Amount of points the Bombers have since December 1st, most in the SJHL. After a disastrous start to the season, 5-9-0-3 in the month of September/October, the Bombers turned things around in November and have had the best record since December 1.
34 – Amount of wins so far this season, 3 more than last year’s club. On a team that boasted Chris Rauckman (64 points), Dean Allison (53 points) Austin Calladine (37 points) and Brett Boehm (28 points in 23 games) the last year’s addition had 31 wins and was favored to compete for a SJHL title.
1-2 – The 1-2 punch that the Bombers have in goalies Zac Robidoux and Brenden Newton. Robidoux has been named the league’s top goalie of the week three times and of the month once and tied a Bomber record of 5 shutouts in a season to go along with rookie goalie Newton being named to the SJHL All Rookie team.
3 – Amount of player with 30 or more goals and 70 or more points. We all know that the line of Alex Smith, Brandon Switzer and Joel Kocur was going to score the bulk of the points for the Bombers this season, but this pace was not forecasted. The trio has been great and will be looked at to lead the offence in the playoffs, but let’s look at the last number.
12 – The amount of players at 20 points or more. The same as last year, but it’s something that has to be looked at deeper. Jason Lavallee has 33 points in only 38 games since being acquired from Penticton, defenseman Joseph Leonidas has 33 points in 49 games and leads all rearguards in points per game. Put into account that Adam Wilson has 19 points and late acquisition Rylee Zimmer has 17 points in 28 games and a supposed 4th line of young guys that have scored 30+ goals, this team that was thought to have to solely rely on their top line has gained some underrated secondary scoring and depth.