The Winkler Flyers suffered a 4-2 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Blues in the 2015-16 preseason opener for both clubs. Playing many of their younger players still in camp, the Orange and Black kicked off their eight game exhibition schedule.
With only four veteran players in the lineup, the Flyers hit the ice for the first in nearly six months since losing out in the MJHL Quarterfinal to the Virden Oil Capitals a season ago. It was a good start for the home side with two goals in the first half of the first period. The first one came off the stick of 18 year old defenseman Alex Bouchard, with Ryan Rosich and Nolan McGuire drawing the assists just over four minutes in. It was McGuire’s first game back since being sidelined with a serious leg injury last November.
The Flyers took a 2-0 lead, 9:28 into the game with Lawson McDonald assisting on Jeff Michiels’ first of the year. Winnipeg responded with a pair of their own, beating Flyers’ starter Mackenzie Chalmers twice in a span of two and a half minutes, taking the game into the first intermission in a 2-2 tie.
The Blues scored again just past the eleven minute mark of the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Rookie goaltender Mason Swerdyliak replaced Chalmers in the Flyers net not long after. Winnipeg tacked on another one early in the third frame and skated away with the 4-2 win.
Mackenzie Chalmers made 13 saves on 16 shots, while Mason Swerdyliak made 9 saves on the 10 shots he faced in the Flyers net. Ben Dennis kicked aside 32 saves on 34 shots sent his way in goal for the Blues.
Winkler will travel to Winnipeg on Wednesday night for a rematch against the Blues. The Flyers are expected to have a lot more veterans in the lineup for their second preseason game of the season. After traveling to Portage this coming Friday, the Flyers will host the Terriers in their next exhibition home game on Sunday, September 13th at 7:30pm.
Admission for all preseason games is only $5 per person with all children 12 and under free all season long.