Bombers’ Special Teams Take Game One

By James Brohm
Sioux Lookout, ON – It was the number two seed Sioux Lookout Bombers taking on the surging Fort Frances Lakers in a highly anticipated first round matchup. Just two weeks ago these two teams split a weekend series in Fort Frances. 453 hockey fans packed the Hangar, hungry for some playoff hockey and were not disappointed.
The Bombers’ lethal power play took over early in the game when captain, Nolan Palmer got the home team on the board with screened shot from the point at 11:41. Less than five minutes later Palmer had his second goal on a similar play, again while on the man-advantage. The Bombers’ special teams play was the story for the first period and would continue through the game.
The Bombers were the ones to get into penalty trouble in the second period, being assessed four minor penalties in a row to start the frame. However, they were able to net two short-handed goals. First, Jonah Smith deflected a Ty Kirk centering attempt past Jack Orchard for his first of the game at 3:39. Owen Cotter and Cobe Delaney found themselves on a 2 on 1 and Cotter made no mistake taking the pass from Delaney and depositing it into the back of the Lakers’ net. Fort Frances scored their first of the game at 8:32, Brady Krentz scored on the power play and it looked as though we wouldn’t see an even strength goal all night. But then Cedrik Robidoux jumped on a loose puck at 10:33 in the period,  skated in uncontested and blasted a shot past Orchard for the game’s first even strength goal. The second period ended with the Bombers holding a healthy 5-1 lead over the Lakers.
Looking to cut into the Bombers lead, Noah McPherson got free on a break away and was able to beat Jack Osmond at 5:24 of the third. There was some dispute on the play and the referees took some time to talk it over. Upon post-game review the puck hit the crossbar and bounced out but the officials on the ice without the aid of video review declared a good goal. Jonah Smith got his second of the night at 10:15. This time it was a power play marker on a low to high pass from Owen Cotter below the goal line.  Evan Kabel wristed a shot past the Bombers’ netminder at 12:52 to bring the Lakers within three goals again. Former Laker, Cobe Delaney sealed the victory even further with first of the post-season at 15:02. The final score was 7-3 in favour of the Bombers.
Special teams play for the Bombers was integral to the win with four power play goals and two short-handed goals. The game had its fair share of penalties with 19 infractions for the visiting Lakers and 10 infractions for the hometown Bombers. Jack Osmond was named third star, turning away 40 of 43 shots against him. Nolan Palmer’s two powerplay goals earn him the second star and the first star was Owen Cotter whose tenacity and grit produced a handful of scoring opportunities and a goal and an assist. Game two of the best-of-seven series will be back at the Hangar in Sioux Lookout on Saturday night.