By James Brohm
Sioux Lookout, ON – The Sioux Lookout Bombers have been red hot for the last month winning nine straight coming into tonight’s matchup against the Dryden GM Ice Dogs. This included a thrilling overtime win against the Ice Dogs in the first game of the weekend home and home series on the previous night. The Battle of 72 is alive and well as one of the league’s best rivalries. 493 fans packed the Hangar on Minor Hockey night to catch all the action.
As expected, both teams were playing with the intensity built on last night’s game. It was a physical back and forth for the first half of the period. Each team was assessed a minor penalty. Other than that, the game was wide open with plenty of chances either way but Jack Osmond and Ewan Souter were solid in net for their respective teams. It was like that until the 12:46 mark. Connor Burke tucked away a rebound that Owen Riffel was trying to bang past Souter. Sioux Lookout took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Owen Riffel scored his champagne goal (22nd of the season for number 22), unassisted at 3:15 into the second. Dryden cut the lead in half on a goal by Tag Bryson at 16:08. His point shot from the left point found its way through heavy traffic in front and into the back of the net. The Bombers held a 2-1 lead going in to the second intermission.
The moment shifted back in the Bombers’ favour in the third period as the Ice Dogs found themselves in a bit of penalty trouble. With four minor penalties in a row the Ice Dogs were on their heals. Owen Riffle potted his second of the night on the man-advantage at 12:11. Ty lone added another insurance goal for the Bombers a minute later. Coming in to the Ice Dogs zone with Owen Cotter, he took a hard centring pass that bounced up off his stick and batted it out of the air and in behind Ewan Souter. Now down by three goals, Kurt Walsten elected to use his 30 second timeout to get his troops calmed down and refocused. Owen Riffel put a wrap on 2023 with a hattrick goal, his 24th goal of the season, at 15:05. His blistering one-timer on the power play beat Souter to put the Bombers up 5-1.
The third star was Jonah Smith with a solid performance offensively and defensively. Jack Osmond was the second star, picking up his 27th win in his 50th start in the SIJHL. And the man of the night was Owen Riffel with the hattrick and has now averaged a goal per game so far this season!
The SIJHL heads to the Christmas break with the Bombers in first place, followed closely by the Fighting Walleye, Miners, Ice Dogs and North Stars, all within 7 points.