He had only scored one goals through nine playoff games this season before entering Game 5 of their SJHL Semi Final series against the Battlefords North Stars, but Rylee Zimmer (Russell, MB) would score two of his biggest as a junior hockey player when he scored 8:23 into the third to tie up the game and then add his second at the 7:30 mark of double overtime to help his Flin Flon Bombers to a 6-5 win and a 4-1 win in the series.
“That has to be one of the biggest goals of his life,” commented Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan after the game. “Under those circumstances in that situation, that was a huge play.”
After the Stars hit a post in an open net after a pass from the corner, the Bombers chipped the puck out of the zone and into the Stars end when Zimmer picked up the puck on the side wall and shot it through the legs of Battleford goalie Tyler Fuhr.
Both of Zimmer’s goals were unassisted.
The Bombers had to make some big ground to even send the game to overtime.
The Stars opened up the game with three goals starting at 3:25 of the first, beating starting goalie Zac Robidoux (Winnipeg, MB) on 11 shots.
“We talked about pulling Robz after the first,” said Reagan, “out gut was to keep him in and let him finish it, good thing we did.”
Robidoux would only allow two more goals, on in both the second and third on 35 more shots to finish with 41 saves on 46 shots.
Mason Etter (Cedarburg, WI) and Brandon Switzer (Brandon, MB) would make the score 3-2 midway through the second period with Etter’s first of the post season coming on the power play.
Battlefords Igor Leonenko would make it 4-2 shortley after Switzer’s goal, but Greyson Reitmeier (Nakusp, BC) would cut the lead to one before the end of the period with his second of the season.
The Stars took another two goal lead 3:55 into the third, but Switzer scored his second of the game and sixth of the season just three minutes later before Zimmer finished up the scoring.
Flin Flon outshot the Stars 61-46 in total.
The Bombers now sit idle having punched a ticket to their first SJHL Championship since 1993, waiting for the winner of the Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks.
ICE CHPS: Flin Flon and Battlefords were both 2 for 5 on the power play. --- With the Bombers moving on to the Canalta Cup Finals, it will mark the first time two teams from the Sherwood Division will face off in the finals.