Jayden McCarthy recorded his second hat-trick of the season on Tuesday night in the Flyers 7-4 win over the visiting Selkirk Steelers. The Flyers special teams were a big part of their success against the Steelers, with two of their goals coming short-handed and one on the power-play.
Entering the game with an 11-1-2 record over their last 14 games, the Flyers welcomed the Selkirk Steelers to the Winkler Rec Complex for the first time this season. The two teams had met exactly two weeks ago in Selkirk, where the Steelers handed Winkler their last regulation loss, winning the game 3-0. Coming into the game, the Steelers led the MJHL by shutting out their opponents four times, and also led the league with six short-handed goals. The Flyers would turn the tables on the Steelers in that category.
It was a bit of a rough start defensively for the Flyers who allowed the Steelers to generate a number of wide open looks and odd man rushes in the first. Just moments after allowing the first goal of the game, the Flyers tied it up with a great wrist shot goal from Assistant Captain Griffin Leonard just before the five minute mark of the period. Jaden Townsend and Kyle Lamoureux assisted on Leonard’s 13th of the season and third in his last two games.
Winkler would take a 2-1 lead just over three minutes later thanks to a top shelf, power-play goal by Sulivan Shortreed. It was the Emo, Ontario native’s team leading 16th goal of the season and sixth on the power-play. Trent Sambrook and Mateo Albinati drew the assists. The helper for Albinati helped him increase his team leading point streak to 12 games.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, the Steelers jumped on Winkler mistakes twice before intermission and the Flyers trailed 3-2 after 20 minutes despite leading 18-5 on the shot clock.
The second period was much better all around for the Flyers as they would strike for three more goals. Early in the period, Griffin Leonard was assessed a five minute penalty which gave the visiting Steelers a golden opportunity to increase their lead. However, the Flyers much improved penalty-kill had an answer. Not even a minute into the penalty, Everett Bestland stripped a Selkirk defenseman of the puck in the neutral zone, raced in towards the net and beat goaltender Levi Mitchell short side to tie the game 3-3. After sitting with a sub 70% penalty-kill earlier in the month, the Flyers penalty-kill over their last seven game stretch is just over 90%.
The Flyers put some distance between themselves and the Steelers later in the period when Jayden McCarthy scored twice in less than a minute to give Winkler a 5-3 lead after two periods.
The Steelers got one of those back early in the third period to make it a one goal game. Then with just under three minutes left in regulation, Ian Tookenay carried the puck out of the right wing corner, circled it all the way around the Steelers’ zone before scoring his fifth of the season through the five-hole to restore the Flyers’ two goal advantage.
Selkirk went to the power-play late in regulation and with their goaltender on the bench for the extra attacker, Nathan Poolman found Jayden McCarthy in the neutral zone and he would score his third of the game with 30 seconds left on the clock to seal the 7-4 Winkler win. McCarthy’s three goal game now gives the Morris native 15 points as part of a seven game point streak.
Dorrin Luding picked up his 10th win of the season in goal as the Flyers outshot the Steelers 41-28. Winkler went 1-for-2 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (16-6-2) are once again tied for first place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings with the Steinbach Pistons as they prepare to take on the Natives in Neepawa on Friday night. Puck drop at the Yellowhead Centre is 7:30pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show on Country 88 and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm. Winkler’s next home game will be Sunday, November 24th when the Flyers host the Dauphin Kings in the Winkler Auto Dealers – Hockey Fights Cancer night. Puck drop on Sunday is 7:30pm. And thanks to the support of Crocus Real Estate, Admission on Sunday night is free.