For the first time in 23 years the Flin Flon Bombers will have a chance to play for the Canalta Cup, when they square off with the defending league Champion Melfort Mustangs at the Northern Lights Palace starting tonight.
The Bombers have knocked off the no.3 seed Weyburn Red Wings and no.1 seed Battleford Stars, both in 5 games, winning an incredible 5 games on the road.
Flin Flon won all 3 at the Civic Centre in the semi final where the Stars only lost 4 games all year in their first round of the playoffs and regular season.
Melfort is fresh off a tough 7 game series with Nipawin, where the home team won every game including the Mustangs 5-4 win in game 7 on Wednesday. The Mustangs swept Laronge 4 games to none in the opening series.
There is lots of hype as there should be with a league final and there should be capacity crowds every night. Melfort is expected to be a sell out tonight and tomorrow, and there are already over 1000 tickets sold for games 3 and 4 in Flin Flon next week.
It is great to see so many Bomber fans following the team throughout the playoffs and 800 are expected to arrive for tonight. It is also good to see the different businesses decorating their store windows and all the classic jerseys and jackets that are getting dusted off after spending years in people's closets.
This should be a very fun series to watch and the regular season head to heads were very close with Flin Flon holding an edge 3-2-0-1, with the Bombers out scoring the Stangs 20-19. Melfort did manage to win the last matchup in Flin Flon 4-2 on February the 13th.
Melfort had the second best record overall at 39-14-3-2 including a league best 25-3-1 record at the Northern Lights Palace. The Bombers were one of the teams to win in Melfort this year.
Flin Flon was sixth overall and finshed with a record of: 34-20-0-4 and were very consistent at home and on the road. The Bombers won 19 times at the Whitney Forum and had one of their best road records in recent memory picking up 15 wins on the season.
Both these teams come in on emotional highs. Melfort is just 4 wins away from repeating as SJHL Champions and the Bombers are trying to eclipse a 23 year drought between titles.
Mike Reagan has said all year he likes this group very much and that this was a team that has a lot of depth and character. We have seen that through injuries and suspensions so far in the playoffs, especially in the Weyburn series when Flin Flon were down 5 regulars for games 4 and 5.
Rylan Tkachuk, Ben Lanferman, and Tyler Miller despite limited time in the regular season have all jumped in and have had solid contributions.
Zac Robidoux has been able to step back in between the pipes after a tough start in the Weyburn series and has won his last two starts.
The entire back end have battled hard blocking shots, playing physical and really making it tough on the opposition when they want to sit in front of the Bomber net.
We can't forget about the offense which is coming from all 4 lines and it seems like there is a different player stepping up each night. Tyson Empey, Grayson Reitmeier, Brandon Switzer and Rylee Zimmer all had big goals last series, with Zimmer delivering the knock out punch with his thrilling double OT winner in game 5.
Melfort continues to be led by the Minions line of Boyer, Frei and SJHL scoring champion Travis Mayan who have 44 points combined so far in the playoffs. Their offense drops off significantly after that with Sinclair picking up 6 points in 11 games and Boutin 5 points in 10 games.
Rookie goalie Evan Plotnick has carried the mail starting all 11 games for injured starter Richard Palmer who got injured in warm up just before game 1 of the playoffs. His status is still unknown for the league final. Plotnick is getting the job done going 8-3 with a save % of .908 and a gaa of 2.71.
No matter what go's down you will have the best seat in the house with the entire Canalta Cup Final on 102.9 CFAR and flinflononline.com. here is the schedule of games
FULL SJHL CANALTA CUP FINALS SCHEDULE
Game 1: Fri/Apr/15 @ Melfort
Game 2: Sat/Apr/16 @ Melfort
Game 3: Tue/Apr/19 @ Flin Flon
Game 4: Wed/Apr/20 @ Flin Flon
Game 5: Fri/Apr/22 @ Melfort
Game 6: Sun/Apr/24 @ Flin Flon
Game 7: Tue/Apr/26 @ Melfort