The Winkler Flyers came up just short in a gritty, hard hitting, entertaining contest against the defending league champion Portage Terriers on Tuesday night. Mateo Albinati and Jayden McCarthy both scored for Winkler, but it wasn’t enough as the Orange and Black dropped a 3-2 decision on home ice.
Having not played a game in a week after their last two games were postponed due to weather, the Winkler Flyers looked to improve on their 1-3 home ice record in their second game of the season against Portage.
The start between the pipes for Winkler went to rookie goaltender Dylan Meilun who got the call in lieu of Dorrin Luding who was forced to miss the game due to injury. Meilun, who had made just one previous start this season showed no signs of rust and was in fine form throughout the entire game.
Winkler got the early jump on the Terriers and spent the bulk of the first half of the first period in the attacking zone. However, the first goal of the night went to the Terriers as they took a 1-0 lead with just under five minutes left in the opening period. The Flyers did get one of their own before the break and it came off the stick of Mateo Albinati who scored from the left wing wall to tie the game 1-1. Jaden Townsend and Grady Lane assisted on Albinati’s second of the season. It was also Lane’s first point as a member of the Orange and Black. With the Flyers outshooting the Terriers 10-7, the two teams skated into the first intermission tied 1-1.
Early in the second period, the Flyers scored again to take their first lead of the game. After a good forecheck by Sulivan Shortreed, the puck squirted out to Jayden McCarthy who scored his third goal in his last three games to give the Flyers a 2-1 edge. The assist also increased Shortreed’s point streak to seven games.
The back of forth action resulted in more chances for both clubs and eventually resulted in another Terriers goal midway through the period. Portage then regained their lead late in the period when Logan Christiansen scored to make it 3-2 for the visitors just as a Winkler penalty had expired.
The Flyers gave their home crowd plenty to cheer about in the final frame with several great chances and a bone crushing, open ice body check by newcomer Garrett Szeremley. Unfortunately for the Flyers, and despite their best effort, the score would remain 3-2 for the Terriers all the way to the final buzzer.
Dylan Meilun played well in the loss as the Morden native made 27 saves in his second start of the season. The Terriers outshot the Flyers 30-27 overall. Winkler went 0-for-2 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (4-5-0) will hit the road this weekend for a three games in three nights road trip. The Flyers will take on the Swan Valley Stampeders on Friday and Saturday and then conclude the trip Sunday in Virden. All three games can be heard live on Country 88 with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway five minutes prior to game time. You can also audio stream the games live on www.pembinavalleyonline.com and video stream on www.hockeytv.com