The Battlefords North Stars looked to send their series back to Flin Flon for a sixth game, but the Bombers had none of it. Rylee Zimmer fired a shot through the pads of Tyler Fuhr 7:30 into double overtime to eliminate the North Stars.
The North Stars were hoping to bounce back from Game 4 in which they trailed 3-0 after the first, and that’s exactly what they did in the opening frame.
Defenceman Ryan Rosenberg spotted right-winger Logan Nachtegaele behind the defence from his own blue line and fed him the pass. Nachtegaele came in on a breakaway and beat Zac Robidoux on the backhand to open the scoring 3:25 into the game.
Rosenberg then decided to join in on the goal scoring himself, as he took a drop pass from Rory Davidson at the left point. Rosenberg skated all the way from the left point to the front of the net before pulling the puck to his backhand and sliding it past Robidoux to make it 2-0.
Layne Young capped off the scoring in the first on the power play when he took a pass from Coby Downs in the slot, and fired a wrist shot over the glove of Robidoux.
Just like in Game 3 the Bombers found themselves trailing 3-0 after the first, but this time they battled back.
Less than three minutes into the second Bomber Adam Wilson corralled his own rebound at the side of the goal and knocked in his second goal of the playoffs on the power play.
Eight minutes later, Brandon Switzer deflected a shot from the left point by Curtis Roach to cut the deficit to 3-2. Shortly after, the North Stars were given a big opportunity with a five-on-three power play for a minute-and-a-half.
It took the North Stars just 20 seconds to capitalize when right-winger Igor Leonenko fired a quick snap shot through the five hole of Robidoux from the right face-off circle to restore the North Stars two-goal lead.
Again, the Bombers answered quickly. While on a power play of their own, Greyson Reitmeier took a cross-crease pass and backhanded home his second of the post-season to cut the lead down to just one heading into the third period.
Early in the third the North Stars appeared to regain momentum as Baxter Kanter deflected a slap shot from Rosenberg to make it 5-3.
Fuhr did his best to keep his club on top, making a huge glove save on the Bombers’ lead scorer Alex Smith while on a breakaway. Off the ensuing face-off however, the Bombers controlled the puck in the North Stars zone before Smith fed a quick pass to Switzer standing in front of the net, and he tapped home his second of the game to make it 5-4.
On a delayed penalty the Bombers tied the game as a scramble in front of the North Stars net resulted in the puck coming to Zimmer on the left wing side. He quickly fired the puck at the net as Fuhr rushed to get back in position, but was unable to stop the shot as the game was tied at five.
Both teams had quality chances as the clock wound down but were unable to score again, sending it to overtime for the second time in the series.
In overtime the Bombers controlled the majority of chances as the North Stars had difficulties clearing the puck out of the zone on multiple occasions. Fuhr kept his team’s season alive making 13 saves in the extra frame.
As the game continued to double overtime, the North Stars season came down to a game of inches. A centring pass in the Bombers zone bounced towards Dustin Gorgi’s stick in front of the net. Robidoux was out of position and Gorgi had a wide open cage, but he hit the goal post with the shot.
In transition, the Bombers sent the puck up the ice as Zimmer was coming down the right wing into the North Stars zone. He snapped a shot through the legs of Tyler Fuhr to send his team into a frenzy as they eliminated the North Stars in front of their home fans.
It was a disappointing end to one of the best seasons in franchise history for the Battlefords North Stars. The Flin Flon Bombers seemed to be the North Stars kryptonite during the 2015-16 campaign, beating the North Stars in eight of 11 games.
The junior careers of North Stars players Jordan Wiest, Leonenko, Gorgi, Fuhr, Jordan Townsend, Jake McMillen, Reed Delainey, Kanter and Rory Davidson ended with the loss, as they are all no longer eligible for junior hockey, with the exception of Delainey who will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology next season.
The Bombers advance to the SJHL finals for the first time since 1993.
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