The Winkler Flyers made it five wins in a row on Friday night, thanks to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Swan Valley Stampeders. Returning home after playing their last five games on the road, the Orange and Black gave their fans something to cheer about with their sixth straight win against the Stamps.
Back at home for the first time since beating Swan Valley in their last home game on January 22nd, the Flyers welcomed the Stampeders back to the Winkler Rec Complex for their final meeting of the regular season.
After scoring first in their last three games, the Flyers gave up the first goal on Friday night as the Stamps scored on the power-play, 5:27 into the game. Despite being down 1-0, Winkler was the better team in the first period and tied the game just four minutes later when Coltyn Bates and Lawson McDonald assisted on Jeff Michiels 14th of the year, tying the game 1-1.
With 6:08 to play in the first, Nolan McGuire put Winkler in front with his third goal of the season. Jason Cohan and Braden Billaney assisted on the Winkler native’s first goal in 24 games. Outshooting the Stampeders 14-6, the Flyers took their 2-1 lead into the second period.
Winkler extended their lead to 3-1 early in the second period when Scott Gall increased his point streak to nine games with his eighth goal in those nine games. Kurt Sonne and Connor Hamonic assisted on Gall’s 24th goal of the year
Just past the seven minute mark of the period, Jason Cohan and Braden Billaney each picked up their second point of the night with assists on Cam Whyte’s team leading 32nd goal of the year. The Stampeders, who had been struggling to generate offense, scored their second power-play goal of the game to cut Winkler’s lead to 4-2 with 9:37 left in the middle period.
The third period was a physical and entertaining 20 minutes with both teams trading chances. With the Stampeders on the power-play late in regulation, they pulled goaltender Zach De Graves in favor of the extra attacker.
In the final seconds of the Flyers penalty, Jeff Michiels got control of the puck and found Braden Billaney coming out of the penalty box. Looking for his third point of the night, Billaney found the back of the empty Swan Valley net for his first goal since the 27th of November and the Flyers were up 5-2.
Like the rest of his teammates, goaltender Connor Slipp played a great hockey game, making 22 saves while improving his record to 16-3-1. The Flyers outshot Swan Valley 44-24 overall. Winkler went 1-for-5 on the power-play and 4-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The win increased the Flyers win streak to five games, and was their eighth win in their last nine games. The Flyers (34-11-3) will host the Virden Oil Capitals on Saturday, February 6th (7:30pm). Winkler is 2-1 against the Oil Caps this season.
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Flyers will be paying special tribute to the families and billet families of the club’s 23 players with an on ice ceremony.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Braden Billaney (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Jeff Michiels (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Jason Cohan (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer Of The Game
F Tristan Keck