All five games this season between the Flin Flon Bombers and Nipawin Hawks have been decided by one goal. For the fourth time it went to extra time, and for the fourth time, the Hawks came out with a win as they beat the Bombers 5-4 in a shootout.
From the outside it looked like it was going to be an easy one for the Hawks, as they scored twice in the first, just over a minute apart, and once more early in the second to take a 3-0 lead. But it was all Flin Flon early despite the goals.
“They snuck a wraparound in to open the scoring, and then scored another on a scramble infront,” said Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan. “But I think we were the better team at the start. I think we were the better team in this game.”
11:19 into the first Carter Danczak opened the scoring for the Hawks when he took a puck down the wall, behind the net and jammed it on a wraparound past starter Simon Hofley (Ottawa, ON). :58 seconds later Keegan Kjargaard would pick up a loose puck and put it past a sprawling Hofley to help Nipawin take a 2-0 lead into the second period.
They would increase the lead to 3-0 just before the five minute mark when Blake Fournier shot one low blocker side on Hofley. Hofley would go on to make 28 saves in total in his third straight start since Adam Beukeboom’s (Sundre, AB) injury in Kindersley on January 16th, putting his record at 15-8-5 on the season.
With Fournier in the box, defenseman Tyler Bell (Regina, SK) would get the Bombers on the board, firing his eighth of the season from Chris Rauckman (Red Deer, AB) and Dean Allison (Surrey, BC). Bell now five goals in the month of January and has six points (4g, 2a) in his last four games.
Braden Lacoursiere (Unity, SK) would make it 3-2 just past the midway point, scoring his first as a Bomber from Bell at the 12:38 mark.
They would tie the score just under five minutes later when Brett Boehm (Martensville, SK) picked up the puck in the Hawks zone while on the power play, circled around in the slot and then fired one beating Hawks starter Joe O’Brien glove side. Boehm’s third of the season was unassisted.
The Bombers would then take their only lead of the game: 38 seconds later. Danys Chartrand (Winnipeg, MB) would pick up a cross ice pass from Parker Evans-Campbell (High River, AB) and fired a shot past O’Brien, for his third of the season with Brett Kitt also picking up an assist.
Overall the Bombers out chanced and outshot the hometown Hawks, firing 43 shots on O’Brien, including five in overtime.
The 4-3 Bomber lead would last until late in the third when after a failed clearing attempt, Nipawin’s Kris Spriggs picked up a loose puck inbehind the Bombers defense and put a shot short side on Hofley.
No goals in overtime meant a shootout and after a Hofley save on the first attempt, forward Austin Evans (Whistler, BC) scored on the next attempt, putting a beauty move on O’Brien.
The Hawks would score on their next two attempts and Boehm and Allison were unable to beat O’Brien for the Hawks win.
Flin Flon (23-8-5-6) started their four game road trip last night just one point behind the Hawks (27-12-2-3) for second in the Sherwood Division. With the one point coupled with the Hawks win, they are now two points back of Nipawin.
Next up the Bombers hit Estevan tonight to take on the Bruins in their second game of the four game road swing.
ICE CHIPS: The Bombers were 2 for 7 on the power play with the Hawks going 0 for 6. --- The Bombers shootout record is now 2-6. --- Flin Flon is now 7-3-3-4 against Sherwood Division opponents this season. --- These two clubs will meet three more times this season, two in Flin Flon and one more in Nipawin. --- Besides being two points back of Nipawin for second in the Sherwood, they are in fifth overall behind the fourth place Hawks, one up on the sixth place Notre Dame Hounds. If the playoffs started today, the Bombers would start on the road against in Nipawin.