It wasn't the start the Weyburn Red Wings wanted in their playoff run, as they fell behind early and dropped game one 7–3.
Flin Flon came out firing and took command with a great road game to start the series. Former Red Wing Cade Kowalski opened the scoring just over two minutes on a redirection in front and the Bombers never looked back.
They added three more before the end of the first period and took a 4–0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play. Whatever the coaches said at the intermission worked for Weyburn as they some jump in their step to start the second.
Jacob Piller converted on a powerplay in tight for his first career playoff goal. He banged in his own rebound and it gives him goals in three straight games. Flon would answer back quickly and restore their four-goal cushion. Vincent Nardone took a beauty of a backdoor feed and put in the open cage for the Bombers.
Not to be outdone, Piller almost single-handedly brought the Red Wings back with a pair of goal in 42 seconds. Dawson McKenzie assisted on all three of Piller's markers in the middle period and his first career hat-trick had the Wings down 5–3 through 40 minutes. The second line continued to own the play and once again had a terrific night offensively.
The home fans were electric following the comeback bid and a good crowd was on hand for the opening game of the SJHL playoffs. Weyburn had a few chances to give them more reasons to cheer in the third, but Bombers netminder Gabriel Waked made some big saves to keep the score at 5–3.
With time winding down the comeback effort, Flin Flon capitalized on a powerplay that was the final nail in the coffin. The explosive special teams unit scored when it mattered most and pushed their team to victory. Ryder Richmond added an empty-netter late and the Bombers rolled to a 7–3 win and 1–0 series lead.
"It's tough to come out and play a first period like that. We weren't quite ready for the pace. Flin Flon was playing playoff hockey and were still stuck in regular style of play and it cost us," Wings head coach Kyle Haines said. "In the second period we made a good pushback buit wasn't quit enough."
Now on the brink of elimination, the Wings hit the road to Flin Flon for games two and three. It will be a tall order to steal two games at the rowdy Whitney Forum, but anything can happen in playoff hockey. Obviously, a much better start is going to be needed for the Red Wings.
"A lot of it comes down to being ready and we see now what pace it's going to be at. It's playoff hockey — it's faster, it's more physical, everything tightens up and every shift is that much more meaningful," coach Haines said. "I think now that we have a game under our belt we'll have a better idea of what it takes to win. We're going to have to really dig deep, it's do or die now. We're going to have to find a way."
Game two goes Sunday night in Flin Flon at 7:30 p.m. local time, which will be 6:30 Saskatchewan time after the time change this weekend.