Goaltender Ryan Larochelle had another strong performance in the Flyers 4-1 win over the OCN Blizzard, pushing Winkler back into first place in the MJHL Standings. Tuesday’s game was a total team effort by the Orange and Black resulting in their third win in a row and second straight against the Blizzard.
After beating the Blizzard 6-1 this past Sunday, the Flyers welcomed OCN back to the Winkler Recreation Complex for their second meeting of the year.
In seven of the Flyers previous eight games, Winkler scored the game’s first goal. They did that again on Tuesday. Just before the six minute mark of the opening period, Tristan Keck carried the puck around the OCN net and banked a shot off the leg of Blizzard goaltender Brody Claeys and in to give Winkler a 1-0 lead. Lawson McDonald and Cam Whyte assisted on Keck’s fourth of the season.
The Flyers continued to get their chances and were rewarded again later in the period. On the man-advantage, the Flyers moved the puck around beautifully in the Blizzard zone and scored on the power-play for the ninth straight game. After taking the pass from Tristan Keck, Lawson McDonald fired a cross ice pass to Cam Whyte in the right slot for the one-timer. It was Whyte’s sixth goal of the season.
Winkler took their 2-0 lead into the second period while outshooting the Blizzard 15-11 through 20 minutes.
Larochelle kept his team in front in the second period with a number of key stops, and the offense rewarded him for his efforts with another power-play goal. With 2:36 left in the second, Scott Gall and Tyler Jubenvill assisted on Jordan Williamson’s third of the year, giving Winkler a 3-0 lead. OCN outshot the Flyers 11-7 in the second period.
Just past the eight minute mark of the third period the Flyers added their fourth goal of the game. Coltyn Bates and Lawson McDonald assisted on Zak Hicks’ slap shot goal from the point and Winkler led 4-0. It was Hicks sixth of the season, moving him into a tie for the Flyers’ team lead in goals with Cam Whyte, who scored his sixth earlier in the game.
OCN was finally able to beat Larochelle with 9:25 to play in regulation, cutting the Flyers lead to 4-1. Winkler would keep the pressure on and finish off the Blizzard for their third straight victory.
Ryan Larochelle increased his overall record to 5-1-1 with a 31 save performance. Winkler outshot OCN 37-32 overall. The Flyers went 2-for-7 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty-kill. With Winkler’s two power-play goals in the game, they have now scored a league high 14 power-play goals and have scored a goal on the man-advantage in all nine regular season games.
The Flyers (7-1-1), who have played six of their first nine games at home, will hit the road on Friday night for a date with the Steinbach Pistons. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 7:25pm. Puck drop at the TG Smith Centre in Steinbach is 7:30pm. The Flyers are 1-1-1 against Steinbach this season.
NOTE: Forward Kayden Jarvis was injured in the second period on Tuesday night and did not return to the game. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1st – Lawson McDonald – Winkler – (3 assists)
2nd – Tristan Keck – Winkler – (1 goal – 1 assist)
3rd – Ryan Larochelle – Winkler – (31 saves)