The Winkler Flyers fought back from an early two goal deficit in a 5-3 win over the Neepawa Natives, in the first game of a busy three game weekend road trip. Matt Christian led the way with two goals and an assists to help the Flyers rebound after Tuesday’s streak ending loss at home.
Back on the road for just the third time this season, the Orange and Black made their way to the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa for their third meeting of the year against the Natives. After a subpar effort in Tuesday’s loss to Selkirk, ending the club’s seven game winning streak, the Flyers had a much better showing on Friday.
The bounces went Neepawa’s way early on, as the Flyers fell behind 2-0 in the first 13 minutes of the game. Winkler would battle back and cut the Natives’ lead to 2-1 thanks to a nice goal by Weiland Parrish with 52 seconds to play before the break. Matt Christian and Brody Moffat assisted on Parrish’s third of the year.
Still trailing by one, late in the second, the Flyers struck for three goals in in a span of two minutes and 37 seconds to take control of the game. The first one came from Brett Opperman, who tipped in Mitch Dyck’s point shot on the power-play, tying the game 2-2. Fifty seconds later, Collin Caulfield’s shot deflected off Matt Christian’s stick and in, moving Winkler in front 3-2.
And then with 13 seconds to play before intermission, Will Black fed a great pass to Nolan McGuire in front of the net, and the Winkler Captain hammered home his team leading eighth of the season to give the Flyers a two goal lead through 40 minutes.
The third period was a fast paced 20 minutes, with both teams trading chances. The Natives pulled within one with a goal just over two minutes in, and for the rest of the period, the intensity level was up with a valuable two points on the line.
Neepawa pulled their goalie in the final minute and went looking for the equalizer and with just seconds left on the clock, Flyers’ defenseman Collin Caulfield cleared the puck down the ice to Matt Christian who buried his second of game into the empty Neepawa net.
Troy Martyniuk had another strong game for Winkler, making 25 saves in his sixth win of the year. Winkler outshot Neepawa 30-28 overall. The Flyers were 1-for-4 on the power-play and 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (8-3) will continue their road trip Saturday night in Dauphin (4-8-1). Winkler is 1-0 against the Kings this season and 2-1 on the road. 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.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F WILL BLAKE (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – D COLLIN CAULFIED (WINKLER)
GRANDEUR HOUSING HARDEST WORKING FLYERS OF THE GAME
F – WEILAND PARRISH