The Winkler Flyers suffered their first loss of the regular season, falling 3-2 to the visiting Virden Oil Capitals on Tuesday night. The Orange and Black got close at the end but saw their comeback fall just short, seeing their record slip to 2-1.
After back to back wins over the Neepawa Natives to start the year, the Flyers welcomed the Oil Capitals who were winless in their first two games. The Flyers had a less than stellar first period, giving up the game’s first goal 4:32 into the game.
The Oil Caps doubled their lead to 2-0 just before the midway point of the middle period, but the Flyers would get one of those right back. With 4:06 to play in the period, forward Matt Christian took a pass behind the Virden net and quickly tucked the puck into the net to cut the Oil Caps’ lead to 2-1.
After a sluggish start, the Flyers continued to improve as the game rolled along but more often than not they saw their chances find the wrong side of the goal post. Virden forward Ben Dalke scored his second of the game on the power-play with 3:45 left in the game and the Flyers found themselves down a pair.
With just a few minutes left in regulation, the Flyers picked up the pace trying to get back in the game. Winkler went on the power-play with under a minute left and scored with 30 seconds remaining to get back to within a goal. Changing directions behind the net, Matt Christian found Jeff Michiels in the low slot and the 20 year old scored his third of the year, cutting Virden’s lead to 3-2.
Unfortunately for Winkler, time would run out before they could get the equalizer and the Flyers ended the game one goal short.
Connor Slipp made his third straight start and had another strong game between the pipes for Winkler. The Oil Capitals outshot the Flyers 38-34 overall. Winkler went 1-for-5 on the power-play and 2-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (2-1) will play their next four games on the road, starting Friday night in Winnipeg (0-2). You can catch Friday night’s game live from the MTS Iceplex on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 6:55pm.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – Ben Dalke (Virden)
2nd STAR – Matt Christian (Winkler)
3rd STAR – Coltyn Bates (Winkler)