Nolan McGuire scored the game winner, 44 seconds into overtime as the Winkler Flyers finished off their three game weekend road trip with a 3-2 win in OCN. The victory pulls the Flyers into a second place tie with the Blizzard as they reach the 20 game mark of the season.
After dropping a 3-1 decision in OCN on Saturday night, the Flyers returned to the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre in search of their second win of the weekend.
Just like the night before, the Flyers had a solid start to the game and were able to open the scoring just past the seven minute mark of the first. After Mitch Dyck had his point shot stopped by OCN netminder Brett Epp, newcomer Brayden Cullum lifted the rebound into the top half of the net for his first goal as a Flyer.
The Flyers outplayed their opponent in the opening period but the Blizzard managed to tie the game up at one with one minute left before the break, and the Flyers had to settle for a 1-1 draw after 20 minutes.
Winkler continued to play well in the second period, firing 13 more shots on goal. Unfortunately for Winkler, the Blizzard would be the only team to find the back of the net in the middle frame. Trailing for the second straight game heading into the third period, the Flyers were forced to try and get a come from behind win for the first time this season.
The night before, the Flyers comeback effort fell short, despite heavily outshooting OCN in the third period. This time around, the shots were largely in favor of the Flyers again, only this time, they were able to score.
With 7:45 gone in the third period, Lawson McDonald carried the puck into the right wing corner and waited for the sprawled out OCN defender to slide on by before throwing the puck to the front of the net. Waiting at the top of the crease was forward Ian Mackey who picked the far bottom corner for the tying goal. Coltyn Bates also assisted on Mackey’s fifth of the season.
The Flyers had numerous chances to win the game in regulation but saw those opportunities come up just short. Starting the 3-on-3 overtime period with Scott Gall, Nolan McGuire and Lawson McDonald on the ice, the extra ice provided an exciting back and forth style of play.
Holding onto the puck near the OCN blue line with less than a minute gone in the extra period, Gall passed it into the left wing corner to McDonald who spotted McGuire streaking towards the goal on the right wing. After accepting the pass, McGuire ripped in his team leading 11th of the season to send his teammates pouring onto the ice with his 10th goal in his last 10 games. The assist was also McDonald’s eighth point in his last seven games.
Josh Williams made many fantastic saves for Winkler, increasing his record to 3-2. Winkler outshot the Blizzard 36-21. Winkler was 0-for-2 on the power-play and 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (14-6-0) will return home to face the Portage Terriers on Wednesday night. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm. Advance tickets are available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar. The Flyers are 1-1 against Portage this season, with the home team winning the first two meetings.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F NOLAN MCGUIRE (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – D LAWSON MCDONALD (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F GEORGE KING (OCN)