The Winkler Flyers deserved a better fate in Portage on Wednesday night, losing 5-3 to the first place Terriers. With goals by Tristan Keck (38), Cam Whyte (20) and Ryne Keller (1), the Orange and Black played good enough to win but were forced to settle for their third straight loss.
Beginning a stretch of four games in five days, the Winkler Flyers traveled to the PCU Centre in Portage for their final regular season against the Terriers. This was the Flyers first trip to Portage since handing the Terriers their first loss of the season back in October.
After a few good shifts by the Flyers, the Terriers took advantage of a few defensive miscues and took a 1-0 lead, 3:19 into the game. Portage pounced again just over a minute later, increasing their lead to 2-0 before the game was five minutes old.
Winkler settled down after that and started getting some chances of their own. With 8:12 to play in the period, Tristan Keck scored his league leading 38th goal of the season, finishing off a nice pass from Cam Whyte and the Terriers lead was cut to 2-1. Patrice Wren also assisted on the goal.
Portage added to their lead just before the nine minute mark of the second period and the Flyers were again down by two goals. It was after that, that the bounces started going Winkler’s way. With under five minutes to play in the second, Cam Whyte stripped a Portage defender of the puck and sent the pass to Tristan Keck on the left wall. Keck then found Ryne Keller in the left slot and he quickly fed it across the goal mouth to Whyte who scored his 20th of the season, bringing the Flyers back to within one.
Just over a minute later, Scott Gall skated right through the Terriers defense and nearly scored a highlight reel goal to tie the game. But luckily for Winkler, Ryne Keller was there to deposit the ensuing rebound into the net, tying the game 3-3 with his first goal as a Flyer.
Now tied through two periods, the Flyers had 20 minutes to try and get their second victory of the season in Portage. Not long after a flurry of action in the Portage zone, Brad Bowles restored the Terriers lead with 9:59 to play in regulation.
And thanks to a series of tough calls late in the period, the Terries added an insurance marker on the power-play with 3:10 to go, securing the 5-3 victory for the home team.
Devon Fordyce had another strong game in goal for the Flyers, making his second straight start. The Flyers outshot the Terriers in the second and third periods and outshot them 30-29 overall. Winkler went 0-for-3 on the power-play and 5-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (24-13-7) will head up to Swan River on Friday night to play the Swan Valley Stampeders (19-18-5). Winkler is (2-0) against Swan Valley this season and have outscored them 10-1 in the two previous meetings. It will be the first of three games up north for Winkler which includes a game in OCN on Saturday (7pm) and Dauphin on Sunday (7pm).
Friday’s broadcast can be heard live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com begining with Matt Friesen’s pregame show at 7:25pm.