Evan Last and Bryce Enns scored for Winkler on Tuesday night as the club dropped a hard fought 3-2 decision to the visiting Winnipeg Blues. Leading 2-0 early in the second period, the Flyers gave up the next three goals as they failed to gain ground on the team ahead of them in the standings.
Entering play, the fourth place Flyers trailed the third place Winnipeg Blues by just five points with a game in hand and six regular season games remaining. Winkler had a (2-1-1) record against Winnipeg, with the Flyers winning their last meeting on December 7th in Winkler.
The Flyers drew first blood during a back and forth first period. After several minutes of sustained pressure inside the Winnipeg zone, Evan Last scored his seventh of the season with 6:25 to play in the period. Zak Hicks drew the lone assist as Winkler took their 1-0 into the first intermission.
Winkler increased their lead to 2-0 just over five minutes into the second period when Bryce Enns scored his 12th from Brett Klassen and Lawson McDonald. That would be the end of the night for Blues goaltender Scott Parsons, who was replaced by Brian Archibald. The switch seemed to spark the Blues.
Just 26 seconds later, Winnipeg cut Winkler’s lead to 2-1 with Blues’ leading scorer Kamerin Nault getting the goal. Then with just under seven minutes left in the second, Liam Bilton scored to tie the game at two.
Flyers goaltender Dasan Sydora was doing his best to keep his team in the game as the two teams went into the second intermission knotted up at two with Winnipeg outshooting the Flyers 31-16 through 40 minutes.
The third period saw the Flyers start to generate more chances around the Blues net, but they weren’t able to get the bounces they needed to get the puck over the line. Just moments after Cam Whyte wrung a shot off the Blues goal post, Ryan Bittner put the game winner past Sydora with just 4:27 to play in regulation.
Sydora (24-9-5) finished the game with 34 saves as the Blues outshot Winkler 37-26 overall. The Flyers were 0-for-2 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
Winkler (29-15-11) will host the Swan Valley Stampeders (25-23-6) on Friday night in their next game. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm. The Flyers are (3-0-1) against Swan Valley this season.