(Photo courtesy: Billy Durr Photography / Estevan Bruins Twitter)
The SJHL Semi-Finals opened up on both fronts on Friday, with one home team, and one lower seeded visiting team drawing first blood.
The Flin Flon Bombers went on the road and stole Game 1 in Humboldt, largely thanks to goaltender Cal Schell. The Bombers were out-shot 37-28 but the second place Broncos, but Schell turned away 36 of the 37 shots he faced to help Flin Flon to the 3-1 victory.
The Bombers got off to a great start in Game 1, scoring a pair of first period powerplay goals, courtesy of Reece Richmond and Jaeden Mercier, the first of the playoffs for each of them, and it remained 2-0 until the third period. Braiden Koran cut the deficit in half for Humboldt, but Drew Kuzma salted it away with an empty-netter for Flin Flon in the dying moments.
Rayce Ramsay made 25/27 saves in goal for the Broncos. Special teams were key in the series opener with all three goals in the game prior to the empty-netter coming on the man advantage, with Flin Flon going 2 for 4, and Humboldt 1 for 4. Game 2 goes Saturday in Humboldt, and the teams will then take close to a full week off before Games 3 and 4 next Friday/Saturday in Flin Flon.
Olivier Pouliot scored twice and set up three more, for five point night, leading the top-seeded Estevan Bruins to a 7-4 win over the Yorkton Terriers in their series opener.
Jamie Valentino scored twice, and while Mark Rumsey, Mikol Sartor and Nolan Jones all added a goal an assist. Pouliot’s simply been on fire early in these playoffs, racking up a league-high 15 points (5g-10a) through just six games, while Rumsey’s six goals also leads the league. Boston Bilous needed 18 saves to pick up the win.
Karsten Kruska scored a pair for the Terriers, Tyson Janzen had a goal and an assist, and Zach McIntyre rounded out the scoring. They’ll stay in Estevan for Game 2 on Saturday, with Games 3 and 4 next Tuesday and Thursday in Yorkton.