By James Brohm
Sioux Lookout, ON – The setting shifted for game two of the weekend between the Bombers and the Lumberjacks. Lac Seul First Nation hosted the game in the Events Centre in the community of Frenchman’s Head. The crowd was a mix of Bombers faithful who made the 45 minute trek from Sioux Lookout, residents of the three communities of Lac Seul and several Bombers’ family members who had come in for a family weekend. All were treated to a hard-fitting, fast-paced game. Both teams adjusted well to the NHL-size ice surface.
The Bombers got on the board early with a power play goal from Blake Burke on a play that started from the Bombers’ end. Goaltender Jack Osmond made a quick-up pass to Owen Riffle on the far blue line who slid the puck over to Burke. He skated up to the right faceoff dot and ripped a shot past the glove of William Forrester at 5:12. The tone for physical play was set at 10:05 with a clean open ice hit by Christian Shields on Kaden Postal. From that point on, the intensity ramped up and both team finished every check, trying to establish physical supremacy in the game. Tait Howell added to the Bombers’ lead with a shorthanded goal at 13:40. He picked the pocket of a Lumberjack’s defenseman and tucked the puck through the five-hole on Forrester. Wisconsin pulled within one goal at 16:16. Jack Osmond came out of his net to make a poke check but got tangled up with his own defensemen, Nolan Palmer. Osmond swiped at the puck with his stick, desperately trying to clear the puck from the slot but it ended up in the back of the open net. Carson Shafor was credited with the goal.
The second period featured no scoring and only one minor penalty but was a treat for the fans with plenty of back and forth action. The Bombers and Lumberjacks continued to play a very physical game, fighting for every inch of the ice.
Owen Riffel netted his league-leading 15th goal (tied with Eason Mikus, TBN) of the campaign at 3:48 into the third period to add to the Bombers’ lead. On a faceoff to the left of Forrester, Connor Burke won the drop right back to Riffel who found a narrow opening between the Lumberjack’s netminder and the post. Connor Burke put one more insurance marker on the board on the power play at 11:37. The Bombers were moving the puck well with the man-advantage and looking for the perfect scoring opportunity. Burke used a Lumberjacks defensemen as a screen and his shot to the glove-side handcuffed Forrester. The Lumberjacks continued to play hard after that but were unable to beat Osmond again. The final score was 4-1 for the Bombers.
Connor Corcoran, who logged a lot of minutes for the Lumberjacks was named third star. Owen Riffel was the game’s second star with one goal and one assist and Jack Osmond was first star, picking up his sixth win of the season.
Attendance at the Lac Seul Events Centre was 472. Game three of the series moves back to Hangar in Sioux Lookout on Saturday night.