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COMEBACK EFFORT EARNS FLYERS A POINT AGAINST SWAN VALLEY

The Winkler Flyers used a late game comeback to pick up a crucial point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Swan Valley Stampeders. Trailing 2-0 with three minutes left in regulation, Cam Whyte and Tristan Keck sent the game to extra time for the second straight meeting against the Stamps.

Playing the Stampeders for the second time in seven days, the Flyers were looking to improve on their 4-3 shootout loss in Swan River last week Saturday. Winkler had a (3-0-1) record in their four previous games against the Stampeders, and had outscored them by a count of 17-5.

Both teams traded chance in the first period but the game went scoreless into the second. Just past the midway point of the period, Carter Johnson scored on a one-timer to put the Stampeders in front 1-0. Johnson then scored his second of the game with 40 seconds left in the second to push the visitors ahead 2-0 through 40 minutes of play. The Flyers lack of goals wasn’t for a lack of chances as they did generate many good scoring opportunities but couldn’t find a way to beat Swan goaltender Graham Hunt.

The Flyers came out swinging in the third period and had a renewed sense of urgency. Winkler heavily outshot Swan in the third period and momentum finally turned the Flyers way late in regulation. With just 2:56 left in regulation, Tristan Keck sent the puck up to the point for Lawson McDonald who let a shot fly towards the front of the net. Getting a piece of it in front of the net was Cam Whyte who was credited with his 23rd goal of the season.

Now trailing by a single goal, Winkler went looking for the equalizer. In their last meeting in Swan Valley last week, Winkler trailed in the third period and scored three straight goals to force overtime, including the tying goal with the extra attacker on the ice. This game would follow the same script.

Late in regulation and with the Flyers in control of the puck in the Stampeders’zone, Winkler pulled goaltender Devon Fordyce for the extra attacker. That extra skater was leading scorer Tristan Keck who hopped over the boards, raced into the offensive zone, found the loose puck, and snapped home his 41st goal of the season to tie the game at two with just 1:12 left on the clock. Bryce Enns and Brett Klassen drew the assists.

After the rest of regulation and overtime solved nothing, the game was headed to a shootout. Stamps forward Carter Johnson would score the lone goal of the competition to give his club the extra point and the 3-2 victory. Winkler’s misfortunes in shootouts continues, as they’ve won just one of the 10 games that have gone to a shootout this season.

Devon Fordyce made 23 saves on 25 shots in his first start on home ice as a Flyer. The Flyers dominated the shot clock, outshooting the Stamps 48-25 overall, 18-4 in the third period alone. Both teams were 0-for-4 on the power-play.

The Flyers (29-15-9) will host the Virden Oil Capitals (29-16-9) in one of the most important games of the season to date. The fourth place Flyers lead the fifth place Oil Caps by three points in the standings with just four regular season games left. Virden does have two games in hand. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm.