Bombers Take Stranglehold on SIJHL Final

By James Brohm

Sioux Lookout, ON – The Hangar was busting at the seams as hockey fans from near and far were packed in to catch game three of the Bill Salonen Cup final. The air was electric for the first cup final game to be played in Sioux Lookout. With the Bombers holding a two games to none lead in the series, the stakes could not be higher. Kam River was hoping to climb back into the series and Sioux Lookout was looking to put the Fighting Walleye on the ropes. The eagerly anticipated matchup between the top two teams from the regular season did not disappoint.

For the first time in the series the Fighting Walleye got the first goal of the game. Max Wright found the 5-hole on Jack Osmond at 2:17 of the opening frame. Sioux Lookout bounced back a couple minutes later when Alex Lucas hit Dayvan Bull with a pass in behind the Walleye defence. Bull made no mistake on the breakaway, putting the puck off the post and in behind the Kam River netminder, Ashton Sadauskas. Jett Mintenko jumped on a loose puck to the right of the Sioux Lookout goal after a mad scramble that left the Bombers’ goalie and defence down and out in the crease. He banked a shot off Osmond for the Walleye’s second goal at 6:56. The Walleye held a 2-1 lead heading to the first intermission.

With the Bombers on a powerplay, Kaden Veller drifted a point shot past Sadauskas halfway through the second period. The Kam River goalie got a piece of it but the puck trickled over the line. The game was knotted up at two until the dying seconds of the period. Another point shot from Veller wasn’t able to make it though traffic to the net but Trever Sanderson batted the loose puck through the wickets on Sadauskas to give the Bombers their first lead of the game with just six seconds left in the period.

The Fighting Walleye, knowing their championship hopes were on the line, pressed hard in the third period. They pulled Sadauskas for the extra attacker with over 2 minutes to go in regulation. At 18:29 Jonah Smith scored his league-leading 10th goal of the post-season into the Kam River empty net. The Bombers completed the comeback and held on for a 4-2 victory.

Trever Sanderson’s late goal in the second period was the eventual game winner and earned him the game’s third star. The second star was Ashton Sadauskas who stopped 32 of 35 shots on the night. Jack Osmond was the first star earning his 11th win of the playoffs. Game four is set for Sunday afternoon with a 4:00pm (CDT) start back at the Hangar in Sioux Lookout.