It was gut check time for the Flin Flon Bombers, who pulled out a 2 to 1 emotional win in Humboldt last night and were able to sweep their first round playoff series against the Broncos.
Head Coach and GM, Mike Reagan has been preaching depth all year and that is exactly what he got from his group last night.
Flin Flon were missing three of their starting defensemen including Ryder Richmond, Troy Quinn and Cole Vardy who were all out due to injury.
The very versatile Caleb Franklin dropped back to play defense and the Bombers got a goaltending performance of the ages from Cal Schell who made 44 saves in his SJHL Playoff debut.
Mike Reagan wanted to get Schell into action and didn't want to take any chances with starting goalie Jacob Delorme in case things got out of hand last night.
The Broncos looked very dis- interested in playing hockey the last three games and seemed to be more concerned in executing cheap shots as opposed to winning games.
To their credit, Humboldt did play their best game of the series last night and quite honestly that is how i envisioned the series before it began.
As for Cal Schell, you would never know it was his first playoff game as he was ready to go from the opening whistle, and in my opinion played his best game as a Bomber.
He made some spectacular stops including a break away on Luke Spadafora in the third period.
Brendan Forman also played well for the Broncos and wound up with 31 saves on 33 shots.
Offense was tough to come by, with Zach Bannister picking up his first of the post season when he took a beautiful pass from Donavan Houle back of the Humboldt net mid way through the second.
The Broncos responded on the power play when Karter McNarland tied the game late in the middle frame.
With the score tied at one, and the way both goalies were playing , I knew who ever scored the next goal, would probabley be enough to get the w.
Flin Flon would take advantage of a Bronco turn over mid way through the third, when Easton Haygarth pounced on a give away in front of Humboldt's net and buried a nice wrist shot under Forman's right arm.
Cal Schell and a determined under manned defense did the rest and held off a late Bronco barage to win the game 2 to 1 and sweep the first round series 4 games to none.
I really like the closeness of this Bomber team and the fact they are getting contributions from every one, whether it is blocking shots, throwing a big hit, winning a face off or concentrating on defense.
This team can score a lot but are focussed on doing a lot of the little things well.
With the sweep, the Bombers will get a 8 day break and will open up the SJHL Semi- Final a week from this Friday no matter the opponent.
If Melfort beats Estevan and the Stars eliminate Nipawin, Flin Flon will get the Mustangs in a re-match of the SJHL final from four years ago.
Of course a lot could happen and with this Corona Virus shutting down all the professional sports leagues, who knows what to expect.
Here's hoping, that the league keeps going and we will get to enjoy a lot more SJHL playoff hockey with a Bomber team that seems very focussed on bringing a Championship to the Bomber faithful for the first time since 1993.