BARRHEAD - The Barrhead Bombers are still looking for that elusive first win of the Canadian-American Junior Hockey League (CAJHL) season, losing their first four games of the season, including a three-game homestand on Oct. 6-8.
The Bombers are hoping to rebound this season after a particularly disappointing 2022-2023 campaign that saw them go a disappointing two-win, 44 loss and one-overtime loss, with the only point on home ice being their home-opener, a 4 to 3 loss against the Calgary Amp Warriors.
In their opening game against the Vegreville Vipers, a 4-3 loss on the road, the Bombers could not overcome an early first-period deficit which saw their opponents score three unanswered goals. In the second period, Barrhead clawed their way back into the game, outscoring the Vipers two-to-one despite being outshot by a wide margin 21-5.
In the third period, the Bombers peppered the opposition, outshooting their Vipers 16-4, but in the end, they could not overcome the deficit, only scoring one in the final frame.
Logan Goofers got the start for the Bombers in net, stopping 42 out of 46 shots. On the offensive side, Austin Galway led the way with a three-point night, two goals and an assist. Jackson Rufiange also chipped in with a goal, while Cade Bohn, Marcus Stoby, and Jordan Martens recorded assists.
In their home opener on Oct. 6, the Bombers had an opportunity to avenge the loss.
However, once again, the Bombers put themselves behind the eight-ball and attempt to overcome a multigoal deficit, being outscored five to one in the first period in what would eventually be a 9-3 loss.
In their second game, the Bombers faced the Cold Lake Aeros. Unfortunately for the home squad, after playing a relatively strong first period, down only a goal, the wheels on the bus fell off in the second period when the Aeros outscored Barrhead five to one.
Forward Cade Bohn, one of the Bombers' leadership group after the game against Cold Lake, said although the scores of the first two home games were lopsided, the scores did not accurately indicate the competitiveness of the games.
He noted that the Bombers outshot their opponents in the first two home games.
"The puck did not seem to stick to our sticks. We had traffic in front of the net and shots and rebounds. There were opportunities, but we couldn't capitalize on them," Bohn said about the Friday night game, adding the Vegreville goaltender had an exceptional night.
As for the Saturday outing, Bohn reiterated that, for the most part, the Bombers had a strong outing, pointing to the fact that they once again outshot their opponents.
But he said that they had mental lapses at key points in the game and could not capitalize on their chances, including a six-minute powerplay in the second period; it would have been a much more competitive game.
Bohn noted that although they have a core of returning players and some who have junior experience, they are still a relatively young team.
"A lot of guys are still pretty young, and I think our emotions, at times, got the best of us," he said.
On Sunday, in their third game in as many days, last year's champions, the Hinton Timberwolves, defeated the Bombers easily, 4 to 1, in a score that flattered the home squad if it had not been for the goaltending performance of Goofers, who stopped 54 out of 58 shots.
The Bombers next play the Southern Alberta Mustangs and the Cold Lake Aeros on Oct. 13 and 14 at the Barrhead Agrena. Puck drop is 8:30 and 8:15 p.m., respectively.
Barry Kerton, TownandCountryToday.com