The Winkler Flyers dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Virden Oil Capitals on Sunday night, coming up short in their second straight game to start their best of seven Semi-Final series. Virden scored two late insurance goals to get past the Flyers for the second consecutive game.
Playing their first home game of the series, the Winkler Flyers fought hard against the second best club in the MJHL with a number of key players still out of the lineup due to injury. The Oil Caps got the early jump on the Flyers when Dylan Thiessen bounced a shot off a Winkler defender and into the net just 1:23 into the game.
However, the Flyers would get that one back just over five minutes later thanks to Trent Halfdanson’s first of the playoffs and the game was tied 1-1. Then with 4:39 left before intermission, Virden forward Josh Belcher scored on a partial breakaway and the visitors took their 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The two teams traded goals in the second period and Virden took a 3-2 lead into the third. First it was Jeran Knorr giving Virden a 3-1 lead, followed up by Cole Kirkup’s second of the post season on the power-play with Weiland Parrish and Coltyn Bates drawing the assists.
Despite being outshot 35-19 through the first 40 minutes, the Flyers were one shot away from tying the game thanks to the efforts of goaltender Troy Martyniuk. Virden continued to get the bounces around the net as defenseman Marco Creta’s point shot took a deflection before beating Martyniuk with just 4:38 left on the clock and the Oil Caps’ lead had grown to 4-2 late in the third.
On a late game power-play, Winkler pulled the goalie and threw everything they had at the Oil Caps with six skaters on the ice. With 47 seconds left, Virden defenseman Tristen Cross cleared the puck down the ice and into the empty Winkler net, giving the Oil Capitals a 5-2 victory and a 2-0 series lead.
Troy Martyniuk made 43 saves on 47 shots as Virden outshot Winkler 48-33. Winkler went 1-for-4 on the power-play and 4-for-4 on the penalty-kill. It was Winkler’s first regulation loss of the post-season.
The series will now shift back to Virden for Game Three on Tuesday night with the Oil Caps holding a 2-0 lead in the best of seven Semi-Final series. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show at 7:25pm. You can also watch the game with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com.
NOTE: Regular season leading scorer Matt Christian as well as Captain Nolan McGuire continue to be out of the Flyers’ lineup due to injury. Jacob Lacasse and Lucas Barker also missed Sunday’s game due to injury.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – D MARCO CRETA (VIRDEN)
2ND STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F JERAN KNORR (VIRDEN)