The OCN Blizzard drew first blood with a 2-0 win over the Winkler Flyers in Game One of their MJHL Semifinal series. Despite generating a number of great chances in front of the OCN net, the Flyers failed to beat Blizzard netminder Brett Epp in the series opener.
After splitting their six game season series, the Flyers welcomed the Blizzard to kick off the second round of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League playoffs. During the regular season, the home team had won four of the six meetings, with Winkler outshooting OCN in all six games.
It was an aggressive first period by the Blizzard as they looked to get the upper hand in the series after beating Winnipeg in five games in round one. In the first round against Virden, the Flyers didn’t have much trouble keeping the puck out of their net 5-on-5, it was special teams that was the problem. Entering play on Saturday, just four of the 13 goals allowed by Winkler in the playoffs were scored 5-on-5. In Game One against OCN, none of the goals scored by the Blizzard came 5-on-5 either.
OCN would strike first on the power-play just before the game was seven minutes old, and would take their 1-0 lead into the second period.
Winkler fought back in the middle period but failed to draw even before intermission. The third period saw the Flyers out shoot OCN 14-8 and create a lot of quality opportunities but the goals just would not come for Winkler in Game One.
With less than a minute left in regulation and with goaltender Troy Martyniuk on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, the Blizzard would double their lead to 2-0 and would go on to win the first game of the best of seven series.
Troy Martyniuk played well for Winkler, allowing just one goal on 30 shots. The Blizzard outshot the Flyers 31-30 overall. Winkler went 0-for-2 on the power-play and 2-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers will host the Blizzard in Game Two of the series on Sunday, March 26th. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm with the pregame show on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm. Advance tickets are available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or at the door prior to the game.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G BRETT EPP (OCN)
2ND STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F JEREMY DUMONT (OCN)