Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan’s only concern so far in this Wild Card series against the Estevan Bruins was that the team hasn’t had a lead in the three games previous to last nights, despite outshooting and out chancing their opponents and being down 2-1 in the series.
That all changed last night as the Bombers scored two goals in the first and two more in the third to take the game 4-1 and to tie up the series sending in to a deciding game 5 on Thursday in Estevan.
Dean Allison, who’s having a breakout performance in the playoffs, redirected a point shot by AJ Kapcheck late in the opening period to help the Bombers take their first lead of the series. Defenseman Dany Chartrand picked up the other assist.
Allison has three goals in the playoffs along with three assists to put him tied for the team lead in points, he had 10 points (5g, 5a) all season.
Sparkplug Austin Evans followed that up just over two minutes later with a shorthanded goal when he took an Erik Pedersen feed from the corner and put it just past starter Matt Gibney, for his first of the series.
Evans has been a thorn in the side of the Bruins despite only having one goal so far, the feisty 5’9 forward has the Bruins worrying about him every time he’s on the ice, drving the net hard and creating chances for him and his line mates, Dalton Menke and Seamus Maguire.
The Bruins would score the only goal of the second, with Ben Johnstone scoring his first of the series, roofing a shot on a crouched Simon Hofley. Hofley would only allow the one goal, making 27 saves in total for the win.
In total, the Bombers again outshot the Bruins, 45-28. Flin Flon has out shot their opponents every game this series.
Erik Pedersen would send the Whitney faithful into a frenzy, including his dad who paced the halls of the Forum the whole game, with his fourth of the series just 44 seconds into the third period. Defenseman Robbie Cameron picked up the lone assists, something of a consolation prize for the first year defenseman who lost a tooth and chipped two more after taking a shot to the mouth in the first period.
For the first time in the series, the game would not go to extra time as Brody Robinson fired a puck into the empty cage with 50 seconds left, to seal the win and send the series back to Estevan.
The teams will decide the series on Thursday when they take to the Affinity Centre in Estevan for the fifth and deciding game.
ICE CHIPS: Both Flin Flon and Estevan were 0 for 4 on the power play. For the fourth straight game neither club has scored. --- Mike Reagan gave props to the line of Connor Bucsis, Paul Soubry and local product Evan Akkerman. Despite the trio not registering a point so far in the four games, the line is producing in other ways, “they’re three big bodies and they have been effective with the way they get the pucks deep and keep it deep with their physical play. I’m proud of them for buying into their roles and being successful.” --- The other Wild Card series came to an end last night. Notre Dame won 1-0 to take the series 3-1 over the Nipawin Hawks. They’ll await the outcome of Thursday’s game to find out who their next round opponents are.