FLIN FLON, Man. - The Flin Flon Bombers went two for two on the weekend, getting a measure of revenge on the Estevan Bruins.
Flin Flon won 5-1 Friday and 3-1 Saturday. It was the Bruins' first trip to Flin Flon since last year's SJHL final, which the Bruins won in seven games.
Jagjeevan Phangura took a high-slot wrist shot that would sneak through traffic and past Harmon Laser-Hume to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in Saturday's game. The Bomber goalie protested the goal, saying Bruin Mitch Kohner had interfered with him, but the goal stood.
That goal would be the only one of the first, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead at intermission - and they would start the second on the powerplay after a Jeremi Tremblay cross-check and misconduct late in the opening frame.
The second period brought changes in both the scoreboard and the penalty box - the penalty pendulum swung to the Bruins, who would take six penalties in the period. Those penalties cost the visitors, as Cole Duperreault would tie the game up midway through the second on a powerplay, catching a seam pass and belting home a one-time goal - number 32 on the year for him.
The Bombers took the lead when Bruin Robbie Stewart, attempting to clear the zone from behind his net, accidentally got the puck caught in goalie Cam Hrdlicka's skates. The puck would be stopped next to the left post on the goal line, but Jacob Vockler, tight on the forecheck, would pick that puck up and push it into the net behind Hrdlicka. That mistake would put the Bombers up 2-1, a lead they'd take into the third.
The Bombers thought they'd extended their lead halfway through the period, with Alexi Sylestre putting the puck into the crease and Matt Egan bulldozing the puck into the net - the goal light went on, but the officials called the goal off, saying there was a whistle before the puck passed the goal line.
Alexi Sylvestre scored on a wide-open net in the third. Hrdlicka would argue he'd been interfered with, with other Bruins arguing that the goal should be waved off.
Harmon Laser-Hume made 37 saves on the night, while Hrdlicka made 53 saves on 56 shots. The Bruins have now not won in the Whitney Forum since Nov. 19, 2021 - since that game, a 3-2 overtime win for Estevan, the Bruins have lost six straight games in the Flon's friendly confines, including three in the SJHL finals. In four of those games, Estevan was held to just one goal.
Estevan has beaten Flin Flon in eight straight games at Affinity Place, including Game 7 of last season's SJHL final.
The night before, a Vockler breakaway was saved by Hrdlicka, but Ethan Mercer made good on a rebound, making it 1-0 Bombers.
Then Duperreault scored from a high-slot shot, sneaking past a screened Hrdlicka.
Phangura tossed a no-look backhand on the Flin Flon net that caught Bomber goalie Laser-Hume off guard and slid underneath him.
Down a man early in the third, Vockler would rush the puck down into the Estevan zone and start a play. Duperreault took a shot and, while Hrdlicka would save it, the rebound bounced off a Bruin backchecker and in.
Tremblay then fired one from the high slot that beat Hrdlicka clean for a 4-1 lead.
Bomber captain Lucas Fry would connect with a slapshot from the blue line and beat Hrdlicka, but the goalie said he'd been interfered with, having had his blocker knocked off before the goal. Officials on the ice first signalled a goal, but then reversed their call with the Bombers waiting at centre ice for a faceoff.
Tremblay scored his second of the game into an empty net.
Laser-Hume made 30 saves for the win, while Hrdlicka stopped 46 shots in a losing cause.
All SJHL teams will pause their schedules for the upcoming SJHL/MJHL Showcase, set to take place in Winnipeg Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.