Zak Hicks scored the shootout winner in the fourth round as the Winkler Flyers beat the visiting Dauphin Kings 6-5 in front of nearly 1200 fans at the Winkler Recreation Complex. Tristan Keck led the way with two power-play goals to lead the Flyers to their 21st win of the season.
Playing in front of their largest crowd of the season, the Orange and Black took on the Dauphin Kings in one of the most entertaining games in recent memory. Friday night was VISP “Free for All” night, where each and every fan received free admission to the game courtesy of VISP – Next Generation Internet. Winkler had beaten the Kings in their previous four meetings and had scored at least six goals in three of those games.
The Kings went at the Flyers in the opening few minutes and took a 1-0 lead just under four minutes into the hockey game. Winkler responded well to the early setback and would rattle off three goals of their own in the first period.
The first came on the power-play, 8:11 into the period when Patrice Wren and Cam Whyte assisted on Tristan Keck’s 29th goal of the season, tying the game 1-1. Nearly three minutes later, Connor Hamonic snuck one in from a sharp angle and the Flyers had their first lead of the night. Kayden Jarvis and Bryce Enns drew the assists on Hamonic’s third goal of the year.
With 5:46 to play in the period, Kayden Jarvis picked up a Jon Carlson rebound and tapped home his fifth of the season, giving Winkler a 3-1 lead heading into the second. The Flyers outshot the Kings 16-10 through the first 20 minutes.
Winkler added to their lead in the second period with the goal coming from 16 year old Nicholas Labossiere. With 6:55 to play in the second, the young Flyers’ AP carried the puck across the goal mouth and snapped in his first ever MJHL goal. Zak Hicks and Tanner Hepp assisted and the Flyers led 4-1.
The Kings would get back into the game in the late stages of the second, scoring two goals while cutting Winkler’s lead to 4-3 after two periods.
Dauphin held onto the momentum in the third and tied the game 4-4 just over three minutes into the period. The third period provided plenty of drama and excitement with both teams in search of the go ahead goal.
Late in the third, the Flyers found themselves on the power-play with a chance to go back in front. Winkler’s power-play, which had been in a horrible slump the last number of weeks connected for the second time in the game with 4:49 left in regulation.
After taking the pass from Connor Hamonic in the left wing corner, Cam Whyte swung it towards the front of the net where Tristan Keck was waiting to snap home his MJHL leading 30th goal of the season and second of the game.
Trying to hang on for the win, the Flyers found themselves playing in their own end late in the period. With the Dauphin goaltender on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, the Kings would score the equalizer with 1:13 remaining on the clock. The two teams would head to overtime in a 5-5 tie.
After overtime solved nothing, the Flyers and Kings were headed to a shootout. The shootout had not been kind to Winkler this season having lost all four of their games that went to the skills competition.
Cam Whyte went first for the Flyers and could not beat Kings goaltender Troy Martyniuk. After Dasan Sydora stopped Kings forward Rylan Freed, Patrice Wren would also be stopped by the Dauphin keeper. Sydora shut the door and the second Kings shooter. Tristan Keck went next for the Flyers, and again failed to capitalize. Kings defenseman Ben Hull also failed in his attempt which moved the competition into round four with neither team scoring a goal.
Zak Hicks was up next for Winkler and fired a wrist shot low glove side. The goal was initially waved off, but after a short discussion it was determined that the shot went through the net before hitting the back wall. With Winkler up 1-0 in the shootout, it was up to Dasan Sydora to stop the next shot to give Winkler the win.
And the Flyers goaltender did just that. Sydora stopped Dylan Bredhal for the victory clincher and the Flyers were awarded the 6-5 win. All in all it was a wildly entertaining affair with end to end action, drama and excitement.
Sydora (17-5-1) picked up the win in goal making 34 saves. Winkler outshot Dauphin 44-39 through 65 minutes of play. The Flyers went 2-for-4 on the power-play and 4-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The third place Flyers (21-9-5) will travel to Steinbach (18-9-4) on Sunday night to play the Pistons. The Flyers are (1-1) against Steinbach this season and have not played their rivals since the opening weekend of the regular season. You can catch Sunday’s game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 6:55pm.
The Winkler Flyers would also like to thank VISP – Next Generation Internet for a very successful “Free for All” night. The Flyers would also like to congratulate all the prize winners and would also like to announce they will be donating $1,773 to the Katie Cares Respite Home Project from Friday’s 50/50 pot.
Thank you all for your support.