A strong second period wasn’t enough for the Flyers on Friday night in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Virden Oil Capitals. Winkler recorded 19 of their 24 shots in the second, and scored all three of their goals in the middle frame, but were forced to settle for just their second regulation loss in the entire month of February.
Playing the first of back to back games against each other, both clubs were looking to improve their record and maintain their spot in the standings with the post season just around the corner. Winkler entered the game just two points behind the second place Steinbach Pistons, while Virden was just three points ahead of the Winnipeg Blues for fourth. With over 1200 fans in attendance, the game had a real playoff style atmosphere to it.
The Flyers played on their heals for much of the opening period, mustering just two shots in the first 20 minutes. Virden scored with 5:28 left in the first and took that lead into the first intermission.
Winkler started off the second period with a power-play goal by Kurt Sonne, tying the game up 1-1. It was Sonne’s ninth goal of the season. Just before the nine minute mark of the second, Scott Gall gave Winkler a 2-1 lead on the man-advantage with his 30th goal of the season. Kurt Sonne and Jordan Wall drew the assists.
But with 8:18 left in the period, the Oil Caps scored a power-play goal of their own to tie the game 2-2. Winkler went back in front with 3:39 to play in the period when Cam Whyte and Tristan Keck assisted on Kayden Jarvis’ 13th and the Flyers were back in front 3-2.
The Oil Caps got that one back too when they scored their second power-play goal of the game with just over a minute left before the intermission. The Flyers outshot Virden 19-8 in the second and skated into the third period tied 3-3.
Winkler’s offense, which had been clicking quite well for the past number of weeks, failed to hit their stride in the third period. With time ticking away in the third and with overtime on the horizon, the Oil Capitals would score the game winner with just 44 seconds left in regulation to move in front for good, and dash any hope of the Flyers getting at least a point out of the game.
The Flyers pulled their goaltender in favor of the extra attacker near the end, but the gamble would not pay off. Nathan Warren made 24 saves, seeing his record fall to 13-5-2. Virden outshot Winkler 28-24 overall. Both teams were 2-for-2 on the power-play.
Winkler (40-13-4) will travel to Virden (36-20-1) on Saturday, February 27th for their sixth and final meeting of the regular season. The Flyers are 2-3 in their previous five meetings against the Oil Caps. You can listen to the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting under way at 7:25pm.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Drake Bodie (Virden)
2nd Star – F Kurt Sonne (Winkler)
3rd Star – D Zach Whitecloud (Virden)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer