Goaltender Clarke Flegel kicked aside all 31 shots he faced as the Winkler Flyers blanked the visiting OCN Blizzard 3-0 on Tuesday night, increasing their winning streak to five games. The Flyers two power-play goals in the first period proved to be enough, as Winkler shut down the Blizzard, handing OCN their ninth straight loss.
With reigning Manitoba Junior Hockey League Player of the Week, Connor Slipp, getting the night off, 18 year old Clarke Flegel found his way back in goal for Winkler for the first time since October 22nd. Ironically, that game was against the Blizzard, which the Flyers lost 6-3 up in OCN.
For the 15th time in the Flyers’ 22 games played this season, they scored the opening goal. Just before the five minute mark of the first, Connor Hamonic and Zak Hicks assisted on Tristan Keck’s 13th goal of the year, giving Winkler the 1-0 lead.
The Blizzard carried much of the play in the first, but Flegel stood tall, keeping his team in the game with 15 saves in the first period. The Flyers offence rewarded him for it with another power-play goal later in the frame. With 2:44 left to play in the first, Scott Gall snapped home his 11th, doubling the Flyers lead to 2-0. It was Gall’s first game back after being injured back on November 3rd in Selkirk. Tyler Jubenvill and Thomas Mansbridge assisted on the goal.
Winkler added to their lead late in the second period when Thomas Mansbridge found Lawson McDonald in the slot and the Flyers’ assistant captain flipped a backhanded shot into the net, pushing Winkler in front 3-0.
That would be all the Flyers would need as Flegel and the rest of the Winkler defense held off the OCN shooters the rest of the way for the Flyers’ fourth team shutout of the season. The win was Winkler’s ninth victory in their last 10 games, and fifth in a row.
It was Clarke Flegel’s first MJHL shutout and fourth win in five games played this year. The Blizzard outshot the Flyers 31-29 overall. Winkler went 2-for-4 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty-kill. The Flyers are now 17-1-1 when they score a goal on the power-play.
The Flyers (17-4-1) will now prepare for their toughest test yet, when they travel to Portage on Wednesday night (November, 18th) for their first meeting of the year against the first place Terriers (20-2-0). The second place Flyers trail the defending RBC Cup Champions by five points in the standings.
Puck drop between the Flyers and Terriers is 7:30pm at the PCU Centre in Portage with Matt Friesen’s pregame show on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – G Clarke Flegel (Winkler)
2nd Star – D Lawson McDonald (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Scott Gall (Winkler)