Bombers stave off elimination with back-to-back wins against Mustangs

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald The Melfort Mustangs and Flin Flon Bombers scramble for a loose puck off a face-off during Game 4 on Thursday, April 25 in Melfort. The Bombers would go on to win in overtime.

The Melfort Mustangs had two chances to claim the SJHL’s top prize, but the league-leading Flin Flon Bombers refuse to go down without a fight.

The Bombers kept their season alive with a 4-3 overtime win in Melfort in Game 4, then extended the series with a 5-2 win at home in Game 5. Results from Game 6 on Tuesday were not available by press time.

Bombers head coach Mike Reagan says he was pleased with how his team came back after a double overtime loss in Game 3.

“I give our guys so much credit for last night,” he’s said following the Game 4 win. “We lose a heartbreaker on a missed call. I don’t think anybody wants to win or lose a game like that, but there’s a lot of teams that maybe it’d be lights out.”

Flin Flon jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 4 thanks to goals from Justin Lies, Jacob Vockler and Anthony Piccininno, but the Mustangs formed a comeback in front of a vocal hometown crowd.

A pair of goals from Ryan Duguay and another from Aidyn Hutchinson brought the Mustangs even in the third, and send the game into overtime.

Melfort would start the extra frame with a power play that carried over from regulation. Flin Flon’s Harmon Laser-Hume made a couple outstanding saves in the overtime, two of his 43 stops on the evening. That gave Kylynn Olafson enough time to play the overtime hero by scooping up a loose puck and beating Mustangs goalie James Venne five-hole at 15:05.

Reagan says the Bomber goaltender was starting to break out of his early series funk.

“I think Laser would be the first one to tell you that he struggled early on in this series for sure, but he’s continued to get better and better and, you know, he’s looking like the goaltender that we’re accustomed to. I think confidence wise, he’s got to feel good about where he’s at right now.”

The roles were reversed in Game 6, with the Mustangs taking the lead, and Flin Flon rallying from behind. The Mustangs were up 2-1 in the second thanks to goals from Aidyn Hutchinson and Danton Cox before the Bombers rattled off four straight goals, including the eventual game-winner from Alexi Sylvestre with less than five minutes to play in the second period.

Riley Niven, Anthony Piccininno, Carter Anderson, and Justin Lies had the other goals for Flin Flon. Harmon Laser-Hume made 31 stops to earn the win for the Bombers, while James Venne made 37 saves in the Mustangs’ goal.

Should Flin Flon win on Tuesday, the two clubs will meet in Game 7 on Friday, May 3.