By James Brohm
Sioux Lookout, ON – It was a Hollywood ending to the series that could not have been scripted any better for hockey fans. The stage was set by the six previous games that wowed fans in Sioux Lookout, Wisconsin, around the league and worldwide on SIJHL.TV. The Hangar was nearly bursting at the seams with the maximum 580 fans in attendance.
Once again the teams came out with a lot of energy but fairly cautious. There was a feeling out period that lasted for the first half of the opening frame. Just past the 10 minute mark, Connor McClure entered the zone, faked going wide and then cut through the middle of the slot, drawing the Bombers defenders with him. Wisconsin captain Salvatore Poggiali found himself alone on the doorstep with McClure’s pass on his stick. He made no mistake burying the puck into the back of the net. Later in the first, after winning a puck battle along the boards above the hashmarks, Ty Bahm dumped the puck below the goal line for Lucas Trimarchi and headed to the net. He got the return feed from Trimarchi and beat Kyler Lowden on the short side for the tying goal at 15:29. The period ended with the teams tied 1-1.
The scoreless second period was not without its fair share of excitement. Both teams had chances to go up a goal or two but Jake Manners and Kyler Lowden had something to say about that for their respective teams.
The 1-1 tie was finally broken and the Bombers got their first lead of the game at 6:45 into the third period. While on the power play, Lucas Trimarchi deflected a hard Connor Burke pass into the back of the net behind Lowden. Sioux Lookout went to work trying the clog up the neutral zone and not allow any rushes or o-zone time by the visiting team. However, a neutral zone turnover was brought in by Simon Davidson who passed over to Ryder McMillen in the high slot. McMillen delivered a perfectly placed shot for his first of the playoffs at 10:46. The equalizer silenced the crowd and neither team would score again in regulation time. For the second game in a row at the Hangar, the game would go to sudden death overtime, this time tied 2-2.
Overtime had everyone in the Hangar on the edge of their seats. The Bombers controlled the play to start the extra frame. There were several close calls that almost clinched the series for the home team. But Salvatore Poggiali netted his second of the game and the overtime winner at 3:38. Zach Johnson freed the puck from below the goal line and Connor McClure made a beautiful tap-back pass to the Lumberjacks captain.
Once again the goaltenders put on quite a show for fans. Jake Manners made 24 saves and Kyler Lowden made 30. Both came up big when their teams needed them to extend the game into overtime.
The Sioux lookout Bombers’ inaugural season came to an abrupt end and all that was left was the traditional handshake line. The Lumberjacks, being the lowest-seeded team left in the post season now move on to face a well rested Kam River Fighting Walleye squad who earned a first round bye with their first place regular season finish.
Photo Credit Jesse Bonello/Sioux Lookout Bombers.