After one of the craziest playoff games I can ever remember the Flin Flon Bombers came out on the short end of a 6-5 score at the Whitney Forum and the Battleford North Stars are the 2017 Canalta Cup Champions.
The Stars sweep the best of 7 league final 4 straight and went undefeated in their playoff run reeling off 12 straight wins. The 1982 Prince Albert Raiders were the last team to do this.
I thought this would be Flin Flon's night after chasing starting goalie Joel Grzybowski after the first period.
Battleford scored the first goal for the fourth straight game when Gerein picked up his fourth of the playoffs just 5:31 into the opening period.
Flin Flon came right back when St.Onge scored his 6th, putting a shot through Grzybowski's legs when he got open in the slot. The Stars took back the lead when Hall got in alone on Robidoux and picked up his second of the playoffs.
The Bombers got a big break when Tyler Nyman shot a puck just outside the Battleford blue line that hand cuffed Grzybowski and made it's way over his left shoulder with only 3 seconds left in the first period.
Nate Bedford wasn't happy with the goal and made the switch with Taryn Kotchorek coming out to play the second period. Kotchorek was the story in game 3 and I was quite surprised that he didn't start game 4 in the first place.
The Bombers greeted Kotchorek with a goal from center ice just 50 seconds into the second period and took their first lead of the series 3-2 when Troy Williams scored his first career playoff goal. All kinds of momentum was going the Bombers way and they capitalized on a 5 on 3 powerplay when Nick Shumlanski buried a slap shot for his second of the post season.
Flin Flon was all of a sudden up 4 to 2 and it looked like their fortunes were going to change and they would get the series back to Battleford for game 5 Friday.
The Stars then decided to get serious and a couple of their veterans stepped up in Delainey and Young who both picked up late second period goals to tie the game at 4 after 2.
Any time Battleford has needed a big goal in this series they have been able to get it done and they kept their foot on the pedal and came out flying in the third.
The big guns Young and Downs scored quickly and all of a sudden the Stars were up 6-4. Mike Reagan made a goal tending switch to spark his team and lifted Robidoux in favour of Brenden Newton.
The Bombers would make it a 1 goal game when St.Onge would score his second of the night and 7th of the playoffs on the powerplay with just over half a period to go.
Flin Flon couldn't get any closer as Kotchorek would close the door the rest of the way and the Stars would hold on for a crazy 6-5 win en route to their second championship in franchise history.
Final shots were 48-36 in favour of Battleford, with the Bombers going 2 for 5 on the PP and the Stars wound up 0 for 4. Robidoux stopped 34 out of 39 while Newton stopped 8 out of 9.
Battleford goalies saw Grzybowski stop 8 out of 10 and Kotchorek was 23 out of 26.
Mike Reagan, Gary Childerhose, Chris Bortis and the rest of the players and organization should hold their heads high after giving us another great year of quality hockey. This is the first time since the early 70's that a Flin Flon team has made it to the league final in back to back years (not counting the Norman league.)
There are many reasons to celebrate this year including a second place finish, 39 wins and only 3 regulation losses at home in the regular season. The Bombers also had 6 players with 50 points or more including Greyson Reitmeier who won the SJHL scoring race with 79 points.
Eric Siclair picked up his second straight Best Defenseman of the year award and 4 Bombers received NCAA scholoships including Reitmeier, Sinclair, Lavallee and Corey Thomas.
Good luck to the graduating 20 year old's , Zac Robidoux, Greyson Reitmeier, Jason Lavallee, Eric Sinclair, Kristian St.Onge, Mason Etter,Teal Sobkowicz, Brandon Masson and team captain Braden Lacoursiere.
These young men have done an outstanding job representing the team, league and community and deserve a big pat on the back for their contributions to the organization the last few seasons.
A big thanks to the board, volunteers, fans and sponsors who continue to make this the model franchise of the SJHL and all the work you do does not go un-noticed and your efforts continue to keep junior hockey in Flin Flon.
Thanks for another great year of memories and we look forward to seeing you again next year.