It was quite a night for the Winkler Flyers on Tuesday, as they rolled past the visiting Selkirk Steelers 7-2 in their last regular season home game. The Flyers scored three power-play goals and two short-handed goals while improving their home ice record to 22-5-3.
Playing in front of their largest crowd of the season, the Flyers were poised to put on a show for their fans in their final home game of the 2015-2016 regular season. After closing out the month of February with a 3-2 overtime win in Virden on Saturday, the Flyers welcomed a Selkirk Steelers club that had won three of the previous five meetings between the two teams.
The first period was a good one for the Flyers. Just before the midway point of the opening frame, Tristan Keck scored his 38th goal of the season on the power-play to give Winkler a 1-0 lead. Cam Whyte and Thomas Mansbridge assisted.
Winkler would double their lead with 4:35 left in the first thanks to a power-play goal by Jordy Williamson. Defenseman Zak Hicks, who missed the last 11 games due to injury, picked up the lone assist on Williamson’s 17th goal of the year.
The Flyers added one more before intermission to take a 3-0 lead into the break. Again it was Tristan Keck racing down the right wing side of the ice and snapping home his second of the game, short-handed, to push the Flyers in front by three goals. Goaltender Nathan Warren assisted on Keck’s 39th of the year.
Jeff Michiels started the second by scoring his 18th not even two minutes into the period and Winkler’s lead had grown to 4-0. Winkler would quickly add their fifth goal when Jordan Wall slammed in his fifth on the man-advantage with Tristan Keck and Kayden Jarvis drawing the helpers.
The Steelers cut Winkler’s lead to 5-1 just past the halfway point of the second period but Winkler was quick to get that one back. With just under five minutes left in the period, Nolan McGuire and Nathan Karlowsky assisted on Scott Gall’s 32nd goal of the season to put Winkler in front by five goals.
Selkirk added another before the end of 40 minutes and Winkler took a 6-2 lead into the third. In full control of the game, Cam Whyte scored the Flyers second short-handed goal of the night with 8:06 left in regulation to give Winkler a 7-2 lead. Tristan Keck assisted for his fourth point of the night and Nathan Karlowsky added his second assist on Whyte’s 35th goal of the year.
It was another strong night for goaltender Nathan Warren who made 31 saves in his 14th win of the season. Winkler outshot the Steelers 38-33 overall. The Flyers went 3-for-4 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (42-13-4) will travel to Neepawa (12-45-2) on Friday, March 4th in their regular season finale. Puck drop at the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa is 7:30pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show live on County 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm. Winkler is 5-0 against Neepawa this season, outscoring the Natives 40-5 in those five games.
It is now official that the Winkler Flyers (3rd Place) will face the OCN Blizzard (6th Place) in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Quarterfinals. The series dates will be announced in the coming days. Winkler has home ice advantage in that series.
Great Canadian Oil Chance Three Stars
1st Star – F Tristan Keck (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Cam Whyte (Winkler)
3rd Star – D Nathan Karlowsky (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer
F Jeff Michiels