The Winkler Flyers concluded their three game weekend road trip with a slump busting 5-1 win in Waywayseecappo on Sunday afternoon. Coltyn Bates and Cole Kirkup both snapped goal droughts and the team overall put the brakes on a four game losing streak with an impressive effort on the road.
Playing the Wolverines for the sixth and final time this season, the Flyers were looking to get back on track after coming out on the wrong side of two tight games on Friday and Saturday. The Orange and Black had little trouble winning the first four head to head match ups this season against Wayway, but the Wolverines took it to the Flyers in their most recent encounter, handing Winkler a 5-1 loss back on January 7th.
Winkler got the upper hand in the first, and played the majority of the opening period in the attacking zone. Just moments after a successful penalty-kill, Brett Opperman stepped out of the box and sent the puck to defenseman Garrett Kuklica down the far wing. From there, Kuklica spotted Cole Kirkup in the slot and the Souris native potted his seventh of the season, snapping a 10 game goalless drought.
The Flyers turned it on in the second period and added to their lead with two more goals. The first came just past the halfway point of the period after some serious pressure around the Wayway net. Entering the game on Sunday, forward Coltyn Bates had not scored a goal since January 3rd and had scored just once in his last 16 games. He would finally catch a break when Matt Christian found him beside the net and the third year Flyer doubled Winkler’s lead to 2-0.
Just a few minutes later, that same duo was at it again but this time it was Bates assisting on Christian’s 25th of the season and Winkler had a 3-0 lead heading into the third.
The lone blip in the game came when Wayway forward Caleb Paisley scored on a short-handed breakaway just over seven minutes into the final period and Winkler’s lead was cut to 3-1. The Flyers got that one right back with a short-handed goal of their own just over three minutes later. Once again it was Christian and Kuklica assisting on Bates’ second of the game and the Flyers had restored their three goal cushion. It was Kuklica’s third assist of the game.
Christian and Bates both earned their fourth points of the game on Christian’s second of the night and ninth goal in his last 11 games with one second left and the Flyers would take this one 5-1.
Troy Martyniuk was good when called upon as he picked up his 23rd win of the season. The Flyers outshot Wayway 42-17. Winkler was 0-for-4 on the power-play and 6-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (29-20-0) are once again tied for fourth place in the MJHL Standings with OCN and will finish off their six game road swing on Wednesday night in Winnipeg. Puck drop at Bell/MTS Iceplex is 7pm with the pregame show live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 6:55pm. You can also video stream the game on www.hockeytv.com.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F COLTYN BATES (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – D GARRETT KUKLICA (WINKLER)