BARRHEAD - With a couple more additions and some healthy bodies, the Barrhead Bombers could do some damage in the Canadian-American Junior Hockey League (CAJHL) playoffs.
That is what head coach Mario Haase said after a disappointing 5-3 home loss Feb. 2 to the Hinton Timberwolves.
The loss was the sixth in a row.
"You can see how we were able to play the league leaders and last year's champions with an undermanned roster," he said.
Going into the game, the Bombers had 12 skaters, including one affiliate player, before losing two more during the game to injury, Christopher Vink in the first period and Keenan Disbrowe in the third, compared to 19 for Hinton.
In the first period, the Bombers came out flying, outshooting their opponents 18-9.
Unfortunately, the Bombers could not capitalize and went into the first intermission trailing 1-0.
To start the second period, Barrhead tied the game thanks to a power-play goal in the first minute of play on a goal by La Crete, Alta forward Riley Doerkson, assisted by Gander, Nfld forward Michael Canning and defenceman Marco Russo from St. Albert. The power-play was a holdover from late in the first period when Hinton player Blake Pigeon received two minutes for charging and a 10-minute unsportsmanlike penalty with just under two minutes left in the period.
Regrettably, for the home squad, the Timberwolves would score the next three goals until Doerkson would narrow the margin to two on an even-strength goal assisted by Canning with six and a half minutes left in the second.
In the third period, Canning would make a game of it on another even-strength marker assisted by St. Albert native Austin Galway, narrowing Hinton's lead to one.
Unfortunately, an ill-timed turnover in the defensive zone while the Bombers were on the power play sealed the Barrhead's fate, resulting in Hinton's fifth goal. The Bombers again outshot Hinton by a large margin 12-5 in the period.
The 19-year-old Laine Mcintosh from Hayes Lake, Alta, got the start in net for Barrhead, stopping 24 out of 29 shots.
"Having such a short bench after the five or 10 minute mark of the period, especially if you are on special teams, power-play or penalty kill, because it gets the lines out of order and players get tired," Haase said. "But when you have an effort like we did tonight from everyone, it is hard to be disappointed with a loss."
Fortunately for the Bombers, the CAJHL is heading into their All-Star weekend, meaning their next game will not be until Feb. 16, which should allow them to get the majority of their players back from injury. The only exception is Strathcona County's Lane Nolin, who is suffering an upper-body injury and is expected to be out another month.
The CAJHL All-Star weekend is Feb. 9 and 10 in Edmonton. The skills competition takes place at the Collingwood Arena on Feb. 9, while the all-star game takes place on Feb. 10 at the Downtown Ice District Oilers Practice arena.
Due to injury, two Bombers, goaltender John Zeise from Westlock and Vinck, may have to miss out on the all-star festivities.
Barrhead's next home game is Feb. 23 against the Vegreville Vipers.