The Winkler Flyers erased a four goal deficit in the third period in a thrilling 5-4 shootout win over the visiting Portage Terriers on Saturday night, in their final game before the MJHL Christmas break. Lucas Barker scored twice in regulation as well as the shootout winner to help the Flyers earn their 23rd win of the season.
After losing 5-2 in Portage on Friday night, the Flyers welcomed the Terriers to the Winkler Rec Complex for the back half of the home and home. Coming into the game on a two game losing streak, the Flyers were also on a four game home ice losing streak and looking to give their fans something to cheer about.
The Flyers had good jump to start the game and had many great chances to opening the scoring but Portage goaltender Lasse Petersen was the best Terrier on the ice in the first period. The Flyers were much better defensively than they were the night before as the Terriers failed to record a shot on net until the period was over 10 minutes old.
It was the Terriers who scored first though with 7:16 left in the period when Duncan Pierce’s shot rolled between the legs of Aaron Brunn giving Portage a 1-0 lead.
Portage had their goaltender to thank for the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes as the Flyers outshot the Terriers 14-9 in the first period.
The Terriers were the much better team in the second, scoring three more times including twice on the power-play and the Flyers all of a sudden found themselves down 4-0 after 40 minutes of play.
With just 20 minutes left and needing four goals to tie, the Flyers starting chipping away at the Terrier lead. Just over six minutes into the period, Lucas Barker jumped on a loose puck beside the crease and scored his third of the year to cut the Terriers’ lead to 4-1. Trent Halfdanson and Liam Hovland assisted.
The Flyers scored again a few minutes later when Nolan McGuire assisted on Will Blake’s power-play goal to bring Winkler to within two goals. There was once again a jump back in the Flyers step knowing the game was back within reach.
Just past the halfway point of the third, Lucas Barker stepped into a shot from the high slot and scored his second of the night to make it a one goal game. Trent Halfdanson and Griffin Leonard assisted on Barker’s fourth of the season.
Now with the momentum firmly with the Flyers, Winkler went hunting for the equalizer and would get it with 2:52 left on the clock. After cycling the puck around the Terriers’ zone, Will Blake deflected in Brady Pupp’s point shot and the Flyers had come all the way back to tie the game 4-4.
With both teams taking away at least a single point, the game moved into overtime where the pace and intensity level picked up even further. A key part in the game came when the Terriers were given a nearly full two minute 5-on-3 power-play in overtime, but the Flyers were able to kill it off and take the game to a shootout.
The shootout was short and sweet as Lucas Barker started things off with a goal for Winkler and the five other shooters in the three round competition all failed to find the back of the net and the Flyers would get the extra point and the 5-4 victory.
Aaron Brunn made 40 saves through 65 minutes of play and stopped all three Terriers in the shootout. Winkler was 1-for-5 on the power-play and 5-for-7 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (23-12-0) will now head into the Christmas break after picking up 23 wins in their first 35 games of the season. The Flyers will return to action on January 3rd when they travel to Virden to face the Oil Capitals.
The Winkler Flyers would like to wish all of their players, fans and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F LUCAS BARKER (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F WILL BLAKE (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F TRENT HALFDANSON (WINKLER)