The Nipawin Hawks are up two games to none in their SJHL Semi- Final with the Flin Flon Bombers after a pair of one goal victories on the weekend.
The Hawks rolled into the Whitney Forum Friday and won a nail biter 2-1 on a late third period goal from Grant Baetsen. Baetsen grabbed a loose puck at center ice and raced down the right side cutting into the Bombers zone and beat Zac Robidoux with a nice low shot stick side with just over 2 minutes remaining.
I thought we were headed to OT, especially the way both goalies were playing. Robidoux stopped 40 out of 42 shots while Stead stopped 37 out of 38.
Eric Sinclair scored the lone Bomber goal and Keegan Kjargaard had the other goal for Nipawin.
The two teams headed to the Cage in Nipawin for game 2 on Saturday. The Hawks would open up the scoring for the second straight game when Brandon Arnold flipped a back hand over Robidoux's right shoulder midway through the first period.
The Hawks kept coming in the second period and scored two more goals courtesy of Josh Bly and the second in as many games from Grant Baetsen to make it 3-0 Nipawin after 2.
Flin Flon just couldn't seem to get any breaks and I was wondering if they would be able to put a puck past Stead who was stopping pucks he wasn't even seeing.
The Bombers finally got their powerplay working when Eric Sinclair blasted a laser beam past Stead 6:10 into the final period. This really got the Maroon and White going and they went on to dominate the rest of the game.
Flin Flon kept attacking and got rewarded late when Kristian St.Onge scored his fourth of the playoffs lifting a nice snapshot just underneath the bar to make it 3-2 with 1:34 remaining in regulation.
With Robidoux on the bench for the extra attacker, the Bombers kept pressing and were buzzing all over the Hawks zone looking for the tieing goal. I thought the way they were pressing they were going to get the equalizer, but some how the puck stayed out and Nipawin barely hung on for the 3-2 win.
A couple things that jumped out at me from game two was Eric Sinclair hitting the post in the opening minute. You can't help but wonder if he scores there maybe it sets a different tone for the game. I also thought the Bombers carried the play for most of the game and if they even had a extra couple minutes might of been able to pull out the win.
The Hawks came out in the third looking pretty comfortable with the 3-0 lead and almost let it slip away as the Bombers never quit and may have sent a message that this series is a long way from being done.
Flin Flon outshot Nipawin 36 to 20 and 17-3 in the third period. Mike Reagan was happy with what he saw in the third period and is looking forward to getting back to the Whitney Forum for game three on Tuesday.
It will be interesting to see if the Bombers can get the lead and how the Hawks respond, as they have not trailed once in the opening two games. Nipawin is a perfect 6-0 in the playoffs while Flin Flon is 4-3.
Great to see 1000 plus in both buildings for the opening two games and here's hoping we get another 1000 Tuesday as the Bombers need to get a win under their belt to get right back in this series.
Don't forget we will be back on the air with the Murray GM Coach's Show at 7:15 and drop of the puck at 7:30 on 102.9 CFAR and flinflononline.com.