With all the scouts from around the prairies from colleges, WHL teams, and more, the Kindersley Klippers didn't need more pressure added on in their first game at the SJHL Showcase. On top of that, they were on just a single day's rest after two games in two nights where they didn't play the best despite winning Sunday night, and they were playing a solid team in the Flin Flon Bombers. Even with a rocky start, the Klippers battled to a 2-1 win.
In his first start in goal for the Klippers, Brett Sweet let in six goals in a loss to the Notre Dame Hounds and it looked like he might be in for another tough outing when his team gave the puck away in their own zone and a weak backhand from Cole Duperreault surprised Sweet 17 seconds into the game.
That early goal only lit a fire for Sweet as he locked the crease down from there. The Klippers battled away on the penalty kill a few minutes later on a Hunter Laroque tripping call, and another tripping call shortly after that to Carson Baylis, but they blocked shots, Sweet had a key save on a redirected one timer, and the momentum started to build.
After sitting out four games with an injury, Logan Linklater finally broke the ice for his stat line and his team. The play started when the Bombers tried to clear the puck out of their own zone on the draw, and Josh Pufahl made a nice play on the left of the blue line to hold it in. His shot went wide, and Austin Lamotte came in alone the right wall to put the puck behind the net for Linklater, he then walked out front with a defender on him, turned and fired, and beat Bombers goaltender Max Hildebrand above the blocker and right under the bar just under 13 minutes in.
Before the end of the period, the Klippers took the lead on Charles Obobaifo's third of the season when he carried the puck around from behind the net and, similar to Linklater's goal but from the other side of the net and without as much pressure, turned a fired over the glove, right under the bar, and the Klippers had the lead with under four to play in the first.
After 1: Klippers 2 - 1 Bombers, shots 10-7 Bombers
The second period saw the Klippers start the period with a minute of penalty to kill from Linklater's trip at the end of the period, but that was killed off with ease.
After that, the two teams exchange chances at either end. Tylin Hillbig almost tipped home a rebound into an empty net but had his stick tied up in the first two minutes, and Linklater had a similar chance that just missed wide. Sweet had a solid save on a partial break from Jacob Vockler where he kicked out the pad just in time.
There was some 4-on-4 before the halfway mark of the period with Xavier Lapointe going for holding for the Bombers first and Aiden Bangs going for high sticking, but neither were able to hit paydirt.
The Klippers continued to trail in the shot clock despite blocking a fair number of shots in the period, but overall they were solid and Sweet keeping things on lock in the crease meant the second period would end the same as the first.
After 2: Klippers 2 - 1 Bombers, shots 22-16 Bombers, 12-9 Bombers in the period.
The period saw the Klippers do something they hadn't done all season yet. They went an entire period without giving up a single powerplay. The Bombers did the same in the third, and there wasn't much for whistles, so the third breezed by.
Sweet had a couple moments in the game where a puck was blocked and sat in front of him while a pile formed to either clear the puck away or try and swipe it past him, but his positioning was excellent in those scrums and he was able to cover the puck whenever he got the opportunity. While the Klippers blocked lots of shots, Sweet was there to back them up when they need him for 35 straight saves to earn his first win in the SJHL.
FINAL: Klippers 2 - 1 Bombers, shots 36-21 Bombers, 14-5 Bombers in the period
The Klippers will play one more game Wednesday at 7:30 against the La Ronge Ice Wolves before heading up to Flin Flon for two games in two nights. Friday and Saturday's games will be on Country 104.