Travis Marit scored two goals and Tristan Keck recorded two assists as the Winkler Flyers defeated the Neepawa Natives 5-3, Sunday night at the Yellowhead Centre. Adam Vander Linden picked the win in goal turning aside 34 shots as the Flyers began the month of December on the right foot.
Playing each other for the third time in just over two weeks, the Flyers and Natives had split the first two games with both teams winning in a shoot-out.
The Flyers drew first blood in the game with a power-play goal just 1:07 into the first period. Tristan Keck took the puck from Josh Cook and slide a cross ice pass to Luke Karakas who fired a one-timer past Neepawa goaltender Davy Fisher for his seventh of the season.
Winkler struck again on the man-advantage later in the period and increased their lead to 2-0 when Travis Marit deflected a Zak Hicks point shot through Fisher with 3:44 to play in the period. Scott Gall picked up the second assist on Marit’s ninth of the year.
The Natives cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1 with a 5-on-3 power-play goal before the end of the period and Winkler took their one goal lead into the second while out-shooting Neepawa 14-9 through 20 minutes.
Hayden-James Berra restored the Flyers two goal cushion 2:43 into the second. Tristan Keck and Zach Heisinger assisted on Berra’s fourth. Neepawa would reply not even a minute later and Winkler’s lead was 3-2. However, just over two minutes later, Sean Collins put his fourth of the year past Fisher with Shawn Pachet and Reid Burak assisting and Winkler was once again ahead by two goals. All three goals to start the second period were scored in a span of 3:10.
With 4:31 to play before the second intermission, Neepawa forward Matti Jmaeff ripped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Vander Linden to bring the Natives to within a goal for the third time in the game. Winkler skated into the intermission leading 4-3.
The Flyers gave themselves some breathing room early in the third as Travis Marit cleaned up a rebound in front of the net, giving Winkler a 5-3 lead just 5:08 into the period. Regan Stire and Dzmitry Daniliuk drew the assists on Marit’s second of the game and 10th of the season.
Unlike earlier in the game, the Flyers would hold on to their lead and skate away with the 5-3 win. Adam Vander Linden made 34 saves in his third victory in his last four starts. Winkler outshot Neepawa 41-37 overall. The Flyers went 2-for-5 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (9-17-4) will travel to Portage on Thursday, December 5th in their next game. You can catch the game live on Country 88 with Matt Friesen’s pregame show, live from the PCU Centre in Portage at 7:25pm.