The Flin Flon Bombers are behind the eight ball after a 6-4 loss to Notre Dame to open the playoffs.
Notre Dame began the series with a bang, getting an early power play goal from Chance Longjohn. Chaz Smedsrud, who scored five points in four games against the Bombers this season, added another goal minutes later.
Chrystopher Collin scored twice to tie the game late in the period, sending the teams to their dressing rooms tied 2-2.
Smedrud added another goal in the second period, followed by another one minutes later. Brandson Hein found the twine for the Bombers during the period, but the Bombers trailed 4-3 after two. Whitney Forum faithful greeted the officials with a volley of boos and insults several times, either feeling penalties were missed or unjustly called.
Notre Dame put both feet on the gas pedal in the third period, only scoring late in the period. Longjohn scored his second of the game, followed by an empty net goal by Max Salpeter.
That didn’t bring an end to the scoring, however. Unwilling to go down easy, the Bombers got on the board once more, after Donavan Houle-Villeneuve scored after a goalmouth scramble to make the game 6-4.
Following the goal, tensions boiled over. Bomber captain Ben Lanfermann, possibly playing his final junior game at the Whitney Forum, dropped the gloves with Salpeter, with the two falling to the ice. Smedsrud threw his gloves to the ice and attempted to fight Collin, who did not reciprocate. Smedsrud was given a two minute roughing minor, a 10 minute misconduct and an early trip to the showers, ending his night with a hat trick and six points.
In the end, Hounds goalie Jack Ryan got the win, making 26 saves. Bomber goalie Brenden Newton made 36 saves.
Bomber defenseman Calvon Boots was presented with a plaque by SJHL president Bill Chow before the game for being named to the SJHL’s All Rookie Team.
The loss makes Flin Flon’s chances of extending their playoff run more difficult. Game two of the team’s wildcard series will be played in Notre Dame’s home rink in Wilcox, Sask. on Mar. 13, with game three – if needed – set for Mar. 14, also in Wilcox. The Bombers will need to win the next two games on the road to keep their playoff hopes alive.