By James Brohm
Sioux Lookout, ON – The Red Lake Miners had been steadily gaining ground in the SIJHL standings in recent weeks, with a 7-3 record in their previous 10 outings. The Sioux Lookout Bombers had only lost once in regulation since November 11. It was the perfect setup for an exciting game at the Hangar on a Friday night in Sioux Lookout.
Owen Riffel got the ball rolling for the Bombers at 3:25 of the first period. He took a stretch pass from Blake Burke in the neutral zone in behind the Miners’ defence and had a clear breakaway on Ethan Neitsch. He made no mistake, putting the puck past the glove of Neitsch. At 13:54, Aiden Corbett scored his 24th of the season for the Miners to tie things back up at 1-1. His goal came on a two-on-one with Noah Tenney. Tenney got the puck past a sprawling Nolan Palmer right on to the stick of Corbett. He buried it in the open cage behind Jack Osmond. Trever Sanderson, who was back in the lineup for the first time in two months due to an upper boy injury put the Bomber back up two minutes later. Gaining the zone with numbers, Sanderson elected to shoot. He put the Bombers up 2-1 with a perfectly placed shot over the pad and under the glove of the Miners’ netminder.
The two teams traded goals in the second period. First, Owen Cotter extended the Bombers’ lead at 7:28. It was a beautiful finish to a Tic-Tac-Toe play with Sanderson and Cobe Delaney picking up assists on the play. Jared Burnett was left all alone in front of the Bombers’ net and took a centring pass from Carter Deschamps in the corner. With plenty of time, he was able to put the puck off the post and in behind Osmond. The teams went to their respective locker rooms with the home team still leading by one goal.
Sioux Lookout created some sustained pressure to start the period. Connor Burke put up an insurance marker for the Bombers early in the third period. Owen Cotter picked up the puck below the goal line and found Connor Burke skating in from the high slot. He ripped the puck past Neitsch for his 21st of the season. The Miners, however showed no signs of quitting. Kyle Grysiuk pulled Red Lake within one goal on the power play at 17:39. They kept pressing right up to the final buzzer but were unable to score the equalizer.
The third star of the game was Trever Sanderson with a goal and assist in his first game back. Jack Osmond, who came up big to protect the Bombers’ lead late in the third period was the second star. The game’s first star was Owen Cotter with a goal and two assists on the night.
The teams are back in action at the Hangar Saturday night. The Sioux Lookout Bombers will host their second annual Mental Health Awareness night with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority and several other community partners.