The worry for the Ice Wolves was, "Would they be able to shake off the rust?" Doug Lindensmith answered that 22 seconds into the game and from there, the Wolves just kept on rolling.
Their first two periods were as good as any I've seen them play all year, their third left a little to be desired, but the game was well out of reach at that point. The Ice Wolves held control of this game the entire night, but strangely enough, the Bombers actually had a chance to hang around. P.J. Musico kept Flin Flon in the game until he was pulled (Note Musico's fault) in favour of Randy Graham who did a bang up job cleaning up the mess.
There are a couple of points in this game that if the Bombers had scored, they would have been right back in it. They had a 5/3 advantage at the end of the second, trailing by three, but they failed to score. Andrew Johnston was pretty much free and clear shorthanded, but Dayton Fossum got a stick just enough in the way to cause problems and the puck rolled wide. Both of those moments were critical, and I guess that's the diagnosis of a good Ice Wolves team that didn't buckle under the pressure.
If the Ice Wolves play like they did on Tuesday, they will be very tough to beat in this series.
1. Rhyse Dieno - LR - 1 G, 2 A - The rookie continues to impress. He, like all of the Ice Wolves, was dialled in on Tuesday. That led to a three point night in his first SJHL playoff game, including a fantastic passing play with the rest of his line of Justin Ducharme and Logan Herauf.
2. Justin Ducharme - LR - 2 G - Just like his first game back from suspension where he scored twice, Ducharme put up two in his return to action against the Bombers. Along with Dieno and Herauf, this second line could prove to be the extra pivot that helps the Ice Wolves to victory in this series. It definitely was last night.
3. Aaron Enns - LR - 2 A - Enns picked up his play considerably down the stretch run, forced into more action with injuries, he made the most of the opportunity. On Tuesday, Enns looked strong picking up two points and being a physical presence for the Ice Wolves and an agitator to the Bombers.
Tonight's game will be a very good indicator of this series. Can the Bombers bounce back after a tough loss? Or will the Ice Wolves exert dominance and put Flin Flon into must win situations when the series shifts to Flin Flon?
It's important to note that the Bombers got blown out in game one of their first round series and came back to win the next three. So will they have a similar bounce back, and will the Ice Wolves be ready for it? It will be an interesting game indeed tonight.
I'll have the call on Livesports.com beginning shortly before puck drop. If you're in La Ronge, get out to the game! It was a great atmosphere last night, but still empty seats that need to be filled.
Enjoy game 2!
How far will the Ice Wolves go in the playoffs?
All the Way Baby! RBC Cup Champs - 11 votes
A second straight trip to the RBC - 5 votes
Repeat as SJHL Champions - 2 votes
Bauer Conference Champs - 6 votes
Conference Finals - 4 votes
Out in Conference Semi-Finals - 6 Votes
Total Votes: 34