A solid team effort helped the Winkler Flyers double up the Winnipeg Blues 6-3 on Wednesday night in the finale of their six game road swing. Despite falling behind early, the Orange and Black rallied for one of their biggest offensive outbursts in last few months.
After snapping their four game losing streak in Waywayseecappo on Sunday afternoon, the Flyers were back on the road to face the Blues for the final time this season. The previous five meetings had all been close affairs with each game being decided by two goals or less and the Flyers winning three of those five games.
After Dexter Kuczek put Winnipeg on the board first midway through the opening period, Matt Christian tied the game with his 27th of the season and 10th goal in his last 12 games. Immediately following that goal, the Flyers went on the power-play and would take the lead on a tip in goal by defenseman Collin Caulfield. Mitch Dyck and Matt Christian assisted on Caulfield’s third of the season.
Early in the second, Winnipeg tied the game with a power-play goal of their own. However, just 21 seconds later, Weiland Parrish tracked down a loose puck in front of the Blues’ net and scored his 17th of the season to restore the Flyers one goal lead.
Back on the power-play with just under seven minutes gone in the second, Matt Christian and Coltyn Bates assisted on Mitch Dyck’s blast from the blueline and Winkler’s lead had grown to 4-2. It was also another strong period for goaltender Troy Martyniuk as Winkler took their two goal lead into the third while being outshot 16-6 in the middle frame.
With a 10-0 record when leading the game on the road after 40 minutes, the Flyers put the game away in the third. Assistant Captain Brett Opperman scored his third goal in his last five games and 12th of the season just over a minute into the final period and the Flyers had a comfortable three goal lead.
Late in regulation, the Blues cut Winkler’s lead to 5-3 with an extra attacker on the ice, but Winkler got that one right back as Brett Opperman scored not even a minute later into the empty Winnipeg net and the Flyers would go on to win the game 6-3 and win the season series 4-2.
Troy Martyniuk earned his league best 24th win of the season as both teams finished the game with 34 shots. Winkler was 2-for-6 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
Matt Christian (1 Goal – 3 Assists), Coltyn Bates (3 Assists), Mitch Dyck (1 Goal – 2 Assists) and Weiland Parrish (1 Goal – 1 Assist) all finished the game with multi-point nights. Christian and Bates have now combined for 15 points in their last two games.
The Flyers (30-20-0), who are now alone in fourth place in the MJHL standings, will host the OCN Blizzard (26-16-6) in their return to the Winkler Recreation Complex on Friday and Saturday night. But games begin at 7:30pm and can be streamed live with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com. The Flyers have not played a game at home since January 23rd when they beat the visiting Selkirk Steelers 5-1.
The Flyers are now two points ahead of the fifth place OCN Blizzard and eight points behind the third place Virden Oil Capitals. The Flyers have two games in hand on Virden, while the Blizzard have one game in hand on the Flyers.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F COLTYN BATES (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – D MITCH DYCK (WINKLER)