Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Barrow Gives Bruins 4-3 OT Win in Game 3 Thriller

The Estevan Bruins and the Flin Flon Bombers have provided some of the most memorable playoff hockey games that Affinity Place has ever witnessed in the arena’s 12-year history. And on Tuesday night in Game 3 of the SJHL Quarterfinal, another thrilling chapter was written in the Bruins-Bombers history books.

The Bruins completed a 3rd period comeback as forward Owen Barrow scored with 47 seconds left in the 1st overtime period lifting the Bruins to a 4-3 win and bringing the Bruins back into the series as Flin Flon now leads the Best-of-7 series (2-1).

Before the series began, both teams knew what a critical role home ice would play as neither team has won on the road in the last 9 playoff games between Flin Flon and Estevan. After the Bombers won the first two games at the Whitney Forum, it was up to the Bruins to ensure that trend would continue at Affinity Place for Games 3 & 4.

Estevan would get the opening goal at 9:14 of the 1st period while shorthanded. Dan O’Neill blocked a shot then lofted a pass to Barrow who snuck behind the defence and scored his 1st goal of the series on a breakaway to make it 1-0. However, that lead would be short-lived as just 32 seconds later on the same powerplay, former Bruin Alex Von Sprecken beat Estevan netminder Cam Hrdlicka with a one-timer to tie the game at 1-1. That remained the score heading into the 2nd period, with Flin Flon outshooting the Bruins 14-8.

Cam Hrdlicka

The Bombers would control the game in the middle frame and take their first lead at the 6:11 mark as Lucas Fry beat Hrdlicka through a massive screen in front to make it 2-1. Flin Flon added to their lead at 17:16 as Liam Bridger converted on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-1 for the Bombers after two periods, with Flin Flon also leading 20-16 in shots.

The Bruins had their backs against the wall entering the final frame, in danger of losing and going down (3-0) in the series which has historically been nearly impossible to come back from. And with their season essentially on the line, the Bruins finally found another gear offensively to come back in front of the hometown fans.

Midway through the 3rd period at the 10:33 mark, Ilia Chmelevski found Jag Phangura in the high slot and Phangura fired home his 2nd of the series to cut the deficit to 3-2. Keagon Little also assisted on the goal.

Then less than two minutes later at 12:30, Kade Runke chipped a clearing pass into the neutral zone sending Phangura and Chmelevski in on a 2-on-1. Phangura held onto the puck long enough to draw the defender to him, then fed a perfect pass to Chmelevski who finished for his 1st of the series to tie the game at 3-3. There were some nervous moments late in regulation, particularly when the Bruins went shorthanded with 2:40 left, but Estevan was able to kill it off and send the game to overtime.

Ilia Chmelevski

In the extra frame, Flin Flon would earn a few high-danger scoring chances early but would be thwarted by Hrdlicka who rose to the challenge. The Bruins would have a few good chances midway through overtime, including a partial breakaway by Phangura who was stopped, and as time continued to tick away it felt like the game was heading to a second overtime.

But with a minute remaining, the Bruins’ two best players in the game combined for the overtime winner.

Cam Hrdlicka faced two point-blank shots from the Bombers at the hash marks and made a pair of incredible saves to keep the game alive. Flin Flon continued to put pressure on, but a centering pass bounced off a Bruins’ skate in front and out towards the blueline past a pinching defenceman. Barrow saw the opportunity and raced to pick up the puck, with Tyler Guy joining him to make it a 2-on-1. Barrow came in on his off-wing, held onto the puck to keep the defender frozen in between, then snapped a perfect shot low-glove past Flin Flon’s Harmon Laser-Hume causing the Bruins’ fans to erupt in celebration at the 19:13 mark of overtime in a 4-3 victory.

Jag Phangura & Brady Wilson

Cam Hrdlicka (33/36) was solid all night, but was exceptional in the 3rd period and overtime and kept the Bruins in the game long enough to snag the win. Harmon Laser-Hume (39/43) was tagged with the loss for Flin Flon.

Estevan (0/5) is still struggling on the powerplay in the series, but were able to score while shorthanded thanks to Barrow’s opening goal. Flin Flon went (1/4) on the powerplay in the game.

Flin Flon now leads the series (2-1) heading into Game 4 at 7pm on Wednesday night at Affinity Place. Tickets are available online (CLICK HERE) or at the Bruins office. Game 5 is Friday in Flin Flon and if the series goes to a Game 6, it will return to Estevan on Sunday at 7pm.