The Winkler Flyers got off to a rough start against the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Tuesday night, dropping a 4-2 decision in the finale of their four game homestand. Matt Christian and Will Blake scored for the Flyers who lost for just the fourth time this season on home ice.
A week after beating the first place Pistons 5-1 to begin their stretch of four straight games at home, the Orange and Black once again welcomed their rivals in search of their fifth straight win.
Looking for some revenge after their loss a week ago, the Pistons drew first blood just before the five minute mark of the first. Just 34 seconds later, they doubled their lead to 2-0 with a goal on the power-play. The Pistons would add their third goal with 2:05 left in the opening frame and the Flyers trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes.
With a three goal hole to dig out of, the Flyers started pushing back at the Pistons and cut their lead to 3-1 when Matt Christian scored his 13th goal of the season with 2:55 left in the second period. Coltyn Bates and Nathan Peabody picked up the assists. With just 20 minutes left to play, and two goals needed to tie the game, the Flyers came out hard in the third period.
Taking the play to the Pistons in the third, the Flyers would score their second goal with 6:39 left on the clock when Brett Opperman assisted on Will Blake’s eighth of the season bringing Winkler to within one. With plenty of time left to get the equalizer, Winkler continued to generate chances around the Pistons goal.
With 90 seconds on the clock, the Flyers pulled goaltender Cole Weaver in favour of an extra attacker and nearly tied the game. With a faceoff back in the neutral zone, Weaver went back in the net with under a minute to go only to have the Pistons score an insurance goal with just 49 seconds remaining.
Weaver would take the loss, making 18 saves as the Flyers outshot Steinbach 31-22. Winkler went 0-for-4 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (31-11-2) will travel up north this weekend to play the Swan Valley Stampeders, OCN Blizzard and Neepawa Natives on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All three games can be heard live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com.
NOTE: F Brayden Cullum served the second of his two game suspension, while Nolan McGuire and Ian Mackey both missed the game due to upper body injuries. All three are expected to play this weekend. Leading scorer Scott Gall left Tuesday’s game with an injury in the second period and did not return.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Braden Purtill (Steinbach)
2nd Star – D Tyler Anderson (Steinbach)
3rd Star – D Connor Hamonic (Winkler)