* PHOTOS – Kelly Kocur Jacobson
The Estevan Bruins completed another thrilling comeback with their second overtime win of their SJHL Quarterfinal series against the Flin Flon Bombers.
Cody Davis scored his second goal of the game at 16:49 of the first overtime period and Cam Hrdlicka made a career-high 66 saves as the Bruins shocked the Bombers on the road in Flin Flon winning 2-1 in Game 5. The Bruins now lead the Best-of-7 series (3-2) and have the chance to eliminate the Bombers in Game 6 back in Estevan on Sunday night.
The Bruins have now won three consecutive games after dropping the first two games in Flin Flon to start the series. It’s also the first win by the road team in an Estevan-Flin Flon playoff series in the last 14 games, dating back to 2014.
The Bruins played a solid road period to start Game 5, weathering the storm in the first five minutes and not allowing too many quality chances leading to a scoreless 1st period. Shots were 16-8 for Flin Flon after 20 minutes.
Flin Flon absolutely peppered Cam Hrdlicka with shots in the 2nd period, letting shots go from all areas of the ice and crashing the crease looking for rebounds and deflections. At the 6:06 mark, the Bombers finally got their first goal past Hrdlicka in 125:19 minutes going back to the 2nd period of Game 3. Noah Houle made a move past his defender and snapped a shot in to make it 1-0 Flin Flon. However, Hrdlicka stood tall the rest of the period as the Bombers put 23 shots on goal in the 2nd period alone. After 40 minutes, Flin Flon held a 39-15 advantage in shots.
Despite being heavily outshot and trailing entering the 3rd period, the Bruins were still in a good position to win needing only a goal to tie the game, thanks to Hrdlicka’s strong play. After a key penalty kill, the Bruins were awarded their first powerplay of the game with 8 minutes remaining. Head Coach Jason Tatarnic called a timeout to strategize, understanding this may be the best opportunity his team would have to coming up with the tying goal.
And that’s exactly what happened at the 12:26 mark. Aleksa Babic held the puck at the blueline and fired a quick pass down low to Mitch Kohner. Kohner made an unbelievable spinning-backhand pass across to Cody Davis who tapped in the puck for his 1st goal of the series to tie the game at 1-1. Neither team could come up with the go-ahead goal before the end of regulation and for the second time in the series, the game would head to overtime. Shots after regulation were 52-30 for Flin Flon.
The barrage of shots continued in overtime as Hrdlicka continued to fight off shots and steer away rebounds to safety. Flin Flon would add 15 more shots in the extra frame, but were unable to solve the red-hot Bruins’ goaltender. Then at the 16:49 mark of the first overtime, the Bruins would reward Hrdlicka for his efforts by finding the game-winning goal.
Davis would put a shot on net that was steered into the corner. His linemates Kade Runke and Owen Barrow would fend off the defence and recover the puck down low. Barrow would control the puck with a checker on him in the corner, then snuck a pass to Davis at the bottom of the circle. Davis gave himself a better angle and ripped a wrist shot into the net as the Bruins’ exploded off the bench and surrounded Davis in celebration.
Cam Hrdlicka’s goaltending has reached another level after being one of the top netminders in the SJHL all season. Hrdlicka finished with (66/67) saves in 76:49 of play. In the last two games, Hrdlicka has stopped (102/103) shots and for the series now has a .942 SV% stopping (212/225) shots. Flin Flon’s Harmon Laser-Hume (34/36) was tagged with the loss.
Special teams was nearly non-existent in Game 5 with both teams cautious not to give the other a powerplay opportunity. The Bruins would finish the game (1/2) on the man advantage, while Flin Flon was (0/1).
The Bruins now have the opportunity to end the Best-of-7 series in Game 6 on home ice. Tickets for Sunday’s game at 7pm are available online (CLICK HERE) or at the Bruins office on Saturday (10am – 2pm) or Sunday (Noon – 4pm) with the Box Office opening at 5:30pm before Game 6.