This game was in the realm of a must win for the Bombers. While the playoffs are a completely new season, they have yet to edge the Ice Wolves on home ice this season and the bigger rink plays to La Ronge's strength. The Bombers needed a better effort than game one otherwise this series would likely be over fast.
While they didn't come away with the much needed win, they proved they could put themselves in a position to win, which bodes well for them back at the Forum.
The major play in this game was something that has plagued Flin Flon all season, an undisciplined penalty. Knocked down as a whistle blew, Jesse Mychan hopped up and grabbed Aaron Enns hoping for a fight. I think Enns was surprised at how fast Mychan got at him, but didn't drop the gloves. Mychan earned 17 minutes in penalties, including a five minute major to set the Wolves up for some damage.
The real hurt came on another undisciplined play when David Roper gave Doug Lindensmith an extra shot along the boards, making it a 5/3 advantage. With the Wolves up 2 men, another penalty was taken (this not as deserved as the others, but still a hold) so the Wolves had the chance to score and stay up two. They did score... twice. The Bombers could have packed it in after the second goal, but they didn't. They played a good physical game and got within one in the second period on a powerplay.
Early in the third, the comeback was completed when the Bombers tied the game and then took a lead. It looked like the Bombers were on a roll and ready to steal one from the Wolves in La Ronge. Until, Bob Beatty sent out the Big Line and they got it done, tying the game minutes later. A few minutes after that, Justin Ducharme put the Ice Wolves ahead and they were off to the races.
They would score a couple more times for a third period total of four and a 6-3 win for a 2-0 lead in the series. The Wolves really showed they have what it takes to get momentum turned around and it was an example of a good team finding a way to win. There weren't too many shenanigans like we saw at the end of game one, but there were some clashes as the animosity in this series is reaching critical levels.
I want to talk about one of the young guys in the lineup for La Ronge tonight. Franklin Cook, an AP from the Beardy's Blackhawks took up duties on the blue line. If you watched the broadcast, we were talking about him all night. He played an excellent game adding some solid hits, and some good shots from the point. It's easy to see why Bob Beatty is so high on this kid, because he hustles and didn't look out of place at the SJHL level. He basically forced Beatty to give him more minutes and gives the Ice Wolves the chance to save the final game of Michael Verret's AP availability for a big time game.
1. Marc-Andre Carre - LR - 2 G, 1 A - He was the Ice Wolves' MVP on this night. His tying goal came at a perfect time for La Ronge to stop the Bombers' run and get the building back into the game. He almost had three on the night, Carre hit the post in the second period after undressing a Flin Flon defender and P.J. Musico.
2. Justin Ducharme - LR - 1 G, 1 A - Ducharme's return to the lineup gives the Ice Wolves a vicious one-two punch. His winner tonight proved that, and Rhyse Dieno added to the lead showing off that secondary scoring that is so important in the playoffs. Put down Ducharme as a player to watch as the Ice Wolves try to repeat as Champions.
3. Ryan Fox - FF - 1 G, 1 A - The Bomber captain was the best Flin Floner this weekend. He picked up two goals and was a focal point for the Bombers' momentum in this contest. He's been scoring big goals at the right times and he will be a massive part of a Flin Flon comeback.
Unfortunately there were some goings-on after the game that cast a bit of a shadow on the game. There was a verbal encounter between some of the fans that I'm sure was unnecessary, but I wasn't over there so I don't know what was said. The jist of what I have heard is some fans were being outspoken in a vulgar manner and after some requests to tone it down were asked to leave which caused more confrontation. Everybody did go their separate ways without more happening (at least to my knowledge). A pop machine at the Mel was also damaged, but Ice Wolves management wasn't too concerned about that incident.
The more unfortunate event happened out in the lobby when some of the Bombers and coaching staff allegedly surrounded an Ice Wolves fan and his family and there was a confrontation, though not physical. The evolution of that event started Friday night when a member of the Bombers staff confronted a fan about some of the things he'd been yelling about a player. I don't agree with what the fan was yelling, but I also don't agree with confronting a fan. You can't control what fans are going to say and if you do confront him, clearly the fans are having an impact on the game.
From what I hear, the fan that was surrounded was thought to be the fan from the previous confrontation, but it wasn't. So not only did the team confront a fan, but it wasn't the right one. That is a very unfortunate end to the weekend, tempers were hot and hopefully everyone can just cool it down and we can enjoy some great hockey in Flin Flon this week. It shows you how high the intensity of this series is only two games in.
I will put in a disclaimer that I didn't witness all of the events and am only relaying them as I was told and therefore I'm trying to stay away from specifics. If you have a genuine witnessed account and can deliver it mostly without bias, feel free to post it in the comment section. If it isn't unbiased I won't hesitate to yank it.
On that happy note, heh, the teams get a couple days to cool their jets before they go at it again in Flin Flon. I always enjoy my time at the Forum, and I'm hoping for a good loud group of fans for what should be a fantastic couple of games. You can catch both of them on MBC Radio and MBCradio.com. I'll have the pre-game show at 7:15 with the puck drop at 7:30.
Have a great Sunday!