The Orange and Black earned their first win of the preseason with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Neepawa Natives on Friday night. Graham Pickard led the way with two assists and Kris Drott kicked aside 29 shots as the Flyers improved to 1-2-1 in exhibition play.
With the final roster starting to take shape, Head Coach Ken Pearson put a good number of veterans into the line-up while still giving many of the younger players a chance to impress.
Returning defenseman Jacob Uglem opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 8:35 into the game. Graham Pickard and Bryce Enns drew the assists. Minutes later, Josh Cook found reigning CJHL and MJHL Rookie of the Year Tristan Keck who gave Winkler a 2-0 lead.
However, with just over a minute left in the period, the Natives replied with a power-play goal of their own to cut the Flyers’ lead to 2-1 after the first period.
Reid Burak restored the Flyers two goal advantage near the midway point of the second period with Pickard and Connor Hamonic drawing the helpers. The Natives would strike again on the power-play before the end of the period and Winkler took a 3-2 lead into the third.
With Flyers netminder Kris Drott keeping his team in front, Luke Karakas buried the puck into the empty Neepawa net in the final minute to secure the 4-2 victory.
Drott finished the game with 29 saves on 31 shots, the Flyers fired 42 shots on Neepawa goaltender Michael Gundmanson.
The Flyers will play their final preseason game Saturday night in Winnipeg against the Blues. Following the game, the Flyers will cut down their numbers before the regular season starts next weekend.
In other Flyers news, the club has traded defenseman Chris Kravchuk (93) to the Drayton Valley Thunder (AJHL) for forward Hayden James Berra (94). Last season with the Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL) the 5’11”, 174lbs winger recorded 10 points (4 goals – 6 assists) in 46 games played. In a separate move, the Flyers have picked up forward Shawn Pachet (95) from the Winnipeg Blues for future considerations. The Winnipeg native played the past two season’s with the Winnipeg Wild of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League.
The Flyers would like to thank Chris for his service to the hockey club and would also like to welcome Shawn and Hayden and their families to the Flyers organization.