The Winkler Flyers earned a big two points on Saturday night with a 6-5 shootout victory over the visiting Virden Oil Capitals. It was a back and forth game with several lead changes and momentum swings but the Flyers were clutch when they needed to be while earning their 34th win of the season.
Looking for back to back wins after a 6-3 victory over the Neepawa Natives on Wednesday night, the Flyers welcomed a Virden club that had given them some trouble this season. After winning the first meeting of the season, the Flyers had lost the next four, three of them by at least a three goal margin.
The Oil Caps got the early jump on the Flyers as leading scorer Tyler Kirkup scored the game’s first goal just over a minute into the first period. Despite the early game setback, Winkler recovered well and tied the game on Matt Christian’s 31st of the year just over four minutes later.
Winkler caught a break not even a minute after that as Assistant Captain Will Blake picked off a pass at the Virden line and snapped home his 15th of the season to move Winkler in front 2-1. Then with 9:09 gone in the game, defenseman Matt Krawiec assisted on Cole Kirkups’ 10th to push the Flyers ahead by two goals. That would be the end of the night for Oil Caps starter Dalton Dosch who was replaced between the pipes by Riley McVeigh. Winkler took their 3-1 lead into the first intermission while outshooting Virden 11-8.
The Oil Capitals started the second period with their second of the game and the Flyers lead had been cut to 3-2. Near the halfway point of the second, the Flyers went on the power-play and restored their two goal advantage when Weiland Parrish tipped in Mitch Dyck’s point shot, scoring his 23rd of the season. The Flyers’ seventh power-play goal in their last four games was also Parrish’s seventh goal in his last seven games.
With a 26-1 record when leading after two periods, the Flyers carried their 3-2 lead into the third. However, the visiting Oil Caps would score the next three goals including one on the power-play and the Flyers now needed to score to force overtime.
The Flyers would get the goal they were looking for with 3:26 left on the clock when Coltyn Bates and Weiland Parrish assisted on Matt Christian’s second of the night to tie the game at five and force overtime.
With lots of chance but no goals in the five minute overtime period, the Flyers and Oil Capitals went to a shootout still tied 5-5.
After the first two rounds produced no goals, Weiland Parrish started round three with a nice goal on a forehand deke and after the third Virden shooter failed to beat Troy Martyniuk, the Flyers picked up the extra point and the 6-5 win.
Troy Martyniuk played great between the pipes for Winkler, making 28 saves through 65 minutes of play and stopping all three Virden skaters in the shootout. The Oil Caps outshot the Flyers 33-32 overall. Winkler went 1-for-3 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (34-24-0), who are now tied for fourth place with the OCN Blizzard will try for their third straight victory when they host the Swan Valley Stampeders on Sunday night. Puck drop at the Winkler Rec Complex is 7:30pm. Sunday’s game is sponsored by Valley Fiber. Enter the draw in the arena lobby for a chance to shoot to win for six free months of free internet from Valley Fiber and VISP. The game can be watched live on www.hockeytv.com.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F WEILAND PARRISH (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F KYLE SALAWAY (VIRDEN)