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Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

The Road Begins Now

By Flin Flon Bombers, 03/17/16, 9:15AM CDT

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Flin Flon opens up their playoff run on the road in Weyburn tomorrow night.

The Road to the Canalta Cup starts tomorrow night for the Flin Flon Bombers when they start their Quarter Final series against the Weyburn Red Wings at the Cresent Point Place in Weyburn, SK.

“We haven’t played in a while, but neither have they,” said Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan.  “We had some great practices since our last game; they have been intense and at times heated.  The guys have really showed hard work and competitiveness.  They are ready for tomorrow night.”

Reagan and Company are looking to win their first SJHL playoff series since 2013 when they beat the Nipawin Hawks in six games.

Bombers.ca breaks down the SJHL Quarter Final Series between the Bombers and Red Wings.

Flin Flon Bombers
6th SJHL (3rd Sherwood Division) 34-20-0-4 216 GF, 169 GA
Home: 19-7-0-2
Road: 15-13-0-2
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0-0
Power Play: 18.0% (9th SJHL)
Penalty Kill: 84.3% (3rd SJHL)

Weyburn Red Wings
3rd SJHL (1st Viterra Division) 35-14-5-4 182 GF, 139 GA
Home: 16-6-4-3
Road: 19-8-1-1
Last 10 Games: 6-2-1-1
Power Play: 16.3% (10th SJHL)
Penalty Kill: 85.2% (2nd SJHL)

Season Series
October 5 – Flin Flon 2 at Weyburn 3 – SO
October 23 – Weyburn 2 at Flin Flon 0
October 31 – Flin Flon 1 at Weyburn 3
January 23 – Flin Flon 3 at Weyburn 4
January 29 – Weyburn 4 at Flin Flon 3

It has been documented time and time again that the Bombers lacked success against the Red Wings this season.  They lost all five meetings including a home and home series late in January, but if you look closely you will see another story.

Three of the games happened in October, an October that was the teams’ worse month and start since Reagan’s tenure with the club.  Those three games had Weyburn win one in a shootout and the others were low scoring games. 

Offense

The Bombers rely heavily on their top line of Alex Smith, Joel Kocur and Brandon Switzer.  The trio finished with 230 points and had Smith (3rd) and Swizter (6th) finish in the league’s Top 10 with Kocur (11th) only two points out.

Secretly the team had a great season overall offensively.  The team finished with 216 goals for, good enough for fourth in the league, and with 98 of them coming from their top line, the team got some much needed secondary scoring down the stretch.

After a extended period of time off, fourth year forward and captain Tyson Empey has increased his offense finishing with 29 points (14g, 15a) in 46 games, picking up most of them in the final three months of the season.

Greyson Reitmeier, Kristian St. Onge, Mitch Foyle and rookie Brandon Lesko all finished with 26 points apiece and late pickups Jason Lavallee and Rylee Zimmer all were near a point per game.  The team also had some offense from the blueline with Joseph Leonidas having 33 points (7g, 26a) in 50 games, Curtis Roach having 26 points (2g, 24a) in 50 games and Mason Etter finishing with 19 points (7g, 12a) in 55 games.

The Wings were 8th overall in the league in goals for with 182 and have a balanced attack with 12 players with 20 or more points.  They are lead by 1996 born Braden Mellon who finished with 57 points (17g, 40a) in 58 games.

Defense

While the Bombers hold the edge in offense, the Wings have the edge with defense as the team was tops in the league having only allowed 139 goals lead by the SJHL’s Top Goaltender Jack Burgart and his 1.97 goals against average and save percentage of 0.935, both 1st in the SJHL.  The team’s backup was Carter Phair who was 8-4-1-2 in 19 appearance with a GAA of 2.47 and a save percentage of 0.925.

The Bombers had some solid goaltending of their own this season, finishing with 169 against, 3rd in the SJHL.  That was lead by former RBC Cup champion Zac Robidoux who lead the league with 5 shutouts and a goals against average of 2.77 (7th SJHL) and a save percentage of 0.920 (5th SJHL) in 43 games.  His partner in rookie Brenden Newton also had great numbers in his first junior season.  He finished 4th in the league with a 2.52 goals against average and 3rd in save percentage with 0.922 in 22 games played.