The Winkler Flyers suffered a 5-3 loss to the OCN Blizzard on Thursday night in their final trip up north of the regular season. Scott Gall, Tristan Keck and Zak Hicks scored for the Flyers, who gave up three goals in the third period, starting their three game road trip off on the wrong foot.
Playing their third of five straight road games, the Orange and Black travelled up to the OCN First Nation for the sixth and final meeting of the season against the Blizzard. The Flyers had won four of the previous five meetings, with the only loss against OCN coming at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre back in November.
After scoring first in their last four games, the Flyers gave up the opening goal in this one, as Comacho Lathlin beat Connor Slipp with a slap shot from the slot before the game was six minutes old. Winkler responded and would eventually take the lead before the end of the first period.
Winkler tied the game at one with 4:56 remaining in the frame when Scott Gall took the pass from Kayden Jarvis at the top of the right faceoff circle and wristed home his 15th to pull his team even. It was a big goal for the Morden native who had scored just once in his last 12 games.
With 1:31 to play, Tristan Keck snuck a shot through the five-hole of goaltender Emiliem Boily to put the Flyers ahead 2-1. Cam Whyte and Kurt Sonne assisted on Keck’s 23rd of the season. Remarkably for just the third time all season, the Flyers took a lead into the first intermission on the road.
The Blizzard took advantage of a Winkler turnover at the blueline early in the second period and tied the game just over a minute and a half into the period. The score remained 2-2 through 40 minutes.
Bryce MacInnis restored OCN’s lead early in the third period before Zak Hicks scored his 11th from the point and the game was once again tied just over eight minutes into period three.
The Flyers shot themselves in the foot again near the midway point of the period when MJHL leading scorer Logan Harland picked off a pass at the Winkler blueline and scored on the ensuing breakaway to put his team in front 4-3.
For the entire second half of the third period, the Flyers came close to tying the game but fell just short. With Connor Slipp on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, the Blizzard found the back of the empty Winkler net to win the game 5-3.
Connor Slipp (13-3) made 28 saves on the 32 shots he faced as the Blizzard outshot Winkler 33-27. Winkler went 0-for-1 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The third place Flyers (26-8-3) will continue their road trip on Friday night in Waywayseecappo (11-24-4) for their fourth meeting of the season against the tenth place Wolverines. The Flyers have two wins and a shootout loss against Wayway this season, with all three games taking place at the Winkler Recreation Complex. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 7:25pm.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1st Star – F Scott Gall (Winkler)
2nd Star – D Zak Hicks (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Logan Harland (OCN)
WINKLER CANVAS HARDEST WORKING FLYER
F – Jordy Williamson