“It’s upsetting. Obviously, this isn't how we drew it up.”
Kyle Haines, head coach of the Weyburn Red Wings after Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Flin Flon Bombers in game two of the best-of-three survivor series. With the loss, the Red Wings were eliminated from the SJHL playoffs, while the Bombers advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will take on the Battlefords North Stars.
“I feel for the 20-year-olds, you know, it’s tough to call your junior career done, and I wish them all the best moving forward,” Haines added.
The Wings found themselves in tough against the Bombers in the Whitney Forum, also known as the Zoo, and one of the hardest arenas to play in. The Bombers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, thanks to a shorthanded goal from Brandson Hein and an even-strength goal from Nate Hooper.
Like Friday night, though, the Red Wings came back in the second period. This time, they were lead by Dawson McKenzie, a former member of the Bombers. He scored an unassisted power-play goal 6:53 into the frame. The Wings then tied it up as Connor Pyne scored a shorthanded goal, assisted by Tristan Petrie and Rhett Frey, at the 12:22 mark of the period.
The two teams headed to the locker room after 40 minutes tied 2-2, and it looked as though the Wings had the momentum to force a game three in the series.
Then, just 2:18 into the period, the Bombers took the lead again. Donovan Houle-Villeneuve scored his first of the post-season to make it 3-2 Flin Flon.
The Bombers then took a 4-2 lead on a controversial goal, which, after being allowed, seemed to break the Wings.
Caleb Franklin was credited with an unassisted goal with 9:38 gone in the third period after the puck was seemingly covered by Wings netminder Cody Levesque. Franklin appeared to push Levesque’s leg into the net after the whistle had blown, and despite protestations from the Red Wings, was counted as a good goal.
The Bombers would go on to add two more late goals, with Hein scoring his second of the night, and Tyler Higgins scoring an empty-netter with just over a minute remaining in the period.
“It’s tough,” said Drew Anderson after the game. He is one of the 20-year-olds on the team who is moving on with his junior eligibility exhausted.
“I love the boys here, and it’s just tough. It’s crazy how fast your junior career goes by.”
“Probably just how fast it went, and everyone I meant along the way, all the friends I made, and just, it’s a great experience and I don’t regret it at all,” said Burke Johnstone when asked what was on his mind after the game.
The Red Wings will be returning to Weyburn Monday, where the coaching staff will start the process for getting the team together for next season, while the players head off to the off-season.