Bombers Crowned SIJHL Champions

By James Brohm
Sioux Lookout, ON – With the Sioux Lookout Bombers holding a three-game lead on the reigning champion, Kam River Fighting Walleye the stage was set for a showdown of epic proportions. The game was defined by grit, determination and sacrifice from both teams. Another packed barn of fans were in for a wild ride that saw both teams hold a lead, a tied game at the end of regulation and a beauty of an overtime winner.
The first period belonged to goaltenders Ashton Sadauskas and Jack Osmond. Stats for each goalies were virtually identical heading into the game. Both stood on their head and made it look easy. As a result, the period came to a close in a scoreless tie.
Alex Lucas opened the scoring a 14:36 of the second period. He was on a 2 on 1 with Jonah Smith. He caught Sadauskus cheating a bit anticipating pass but he elected to shoot and sent the puck up over the shoulder of the Kam River netminder. It would prove to be the only goal in the middle stanza and the home team held a 1-0 lead heading into the third period.
Kam River, with their season on the line scored twice in succession to take the lead in the third period. First, Matteo Salvatore lifted a backhand shot over the blocker of Osmond at 3:01. Carter Poddubny chopped at a loose puck in front of the Sioux Lookout net sending it past Osmond to take the lead at 9:51. Poddubny, however later took a crosschecking penalty which opened the door for the league’s top power play team in the postseason.  Blake Burke took a pass from a sprawling Owen Riffel and sent it past Sadauskas to tie the game at 2-2.
The game would need extra time to decide the fates of each team. Kam River started off strong and controlled much of the play in overtime. But Jonah Smith beat Jacob Sargent in a foot race through the neutral zone to a puck headed for the Walleye zone. He then beat Ashton Sadauskus to send the building into a frenzy. The final score in overtime was 3-2 for the Bombers.
The goaltenders, Ashton Sadauskas and Jack Osmond were given the third and second stars, respectively. The top honour went to the overtime hero, Jonah Smith. Following the game, the teams took part in the traditional handshake line and then the Sioux Lookout Bombers were presented the Bill Salonen Cup by SIJHL commissioner, Darrin Nicholas. The Bombers will now travel to Oakville, Ontario to represent the Superior International Junior Hockey League at the Centennial Cup, May 9th to 19th.