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They were the top-ranked team for 15 weeks. They were the class of not only the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League but the Canadian Junior Hockey League as well.

It was smooth sailing from game one to game 54 for the Flin Flon Bombers. They were dominating teams and it seemed as if no one would be able to touch them in their pursuit of the organization's first league title since 1993.

They had already long clinched home-ice advantage for the entirety of their playoff run and other than more regular season wins, the Bombers did not have a whole lot to play for. Struggles came along with that as Flin Flon won just four of their last 11 games and in their final two regular-season games against the Humboldt Broncos, the Bombers were outscored 10-3 in two defeats.

Rob Hart is the voice of the team and as he says, there was some panic amongst team fans.

"Some of the fans were a little concerned and I was as well," said Hart. "Mike Reagan, our team's coach believed everything would be fine, the team really didn't have anything to play for quite a while after the great start."

Struggling heading into the playoffs, Flin Flon quickly put the brakes on any of the negative emotions surrounding the club after a poor start to the 56-game campaign. The Bombers opened their playoffs against Kindersley and scored 12 times in the first two games and then won two straight games in Kindersley to win the series in four games. 

Battlefords were the other team in the league to finish off a first-round sweet as they beat Melville on Wednesday. 

"The Klippers were the easiest out in the first round, Flin Flon looked pretty good," said Hart. "There's some pretty good depth on this team which is always important in the playoffs."

2023 SJHL Finals Rematch?

Two teams have reached the Final 4, while the wait for two more continues. The Weyburn Red Wings won both games on home ice to tie up their first-round series with the Humboldt Broncos who entered the series as clear favourites. The Melfort Mustangs responded from a game three loss to beat the Bruins in game four to take a three games to one series lead.

If all pans out according to regular season standings, Humboldt will fend off the Red Wings to advance while the Mustangs will finish off the Bruins. If so, Flin Flon will play the North Stars in the second round if that is the case.

The two storied organizations met in the league final last year when Battlefords beat Flin Flon in four games. Flin Flon beat the North Stars in three of four games during this regular season and finished 14 points ahead of them in the standings.

Battlefords won their final three regular season games and have now won seven games in a row. They're led by Kian Bell who won the league regular season's scoring race and he posted 10 points in five games against Melville in the first round. 

Round two of the playoffs will not begin until next weekend.

"The nice thing for Flin Flon is they get a rest after winning in four games," said Hart. "The last thing they wanted was to go six or seven games in the first round. This break will do them good. Battlefords will also be very fresh after beating Melville in four games. That is a very good hockey club in Battlefords with some guys who are outstanding offensively."

Now back at the Whitney Forum preparing for the next round, the Bombers will host games one and two, next Friday and Saturday. With crowds of more than 1100 packing the Forum for both home games against Kindersley in the first round, a trip to Flin Flon could make for a great weekend if you're looking to make some plans over the next little bit.

Bax Watch:

Kings fans were happy to see Jordan Bax back in the lineup in game two of their series against the Blizzard and he scored four goals in his first two appearances in that series.

When it comes to his older brother Anthony, he's enjoying his new life in Flin Flon. Bax had one goal and three assists in the first round, but it hasn't been all great for Bax as he struggled a bit over the past few weeks. With a run-and-gun style, Anthony has had to change how he plays because the Bombers are already lethal offensively.

But, good players adapt and that's the case for Anthony as he looks to help the Maroon + White win their first title in 31 years

"Defence is what wins championships and he has to alter his game a little bit, which he has done," ended Hart. "He's playing physical and he is really focusing on play in his own end, which he needs to. He's doing very well and is a cruical piece of this team."