The Winkler Flyers picked up their fifth win in a row, sliding past the visiting Neepawa Natives 6-5 at home on Saturday night. Jaden Townsend and Alex Cattani both scored twice for the Flyers who did not play up to their potential and were lucky to get the win against a hard working Neepawa group.
Playing the middle game of a three game homestand, the Flyers welcomed the Neepawa Natives to the Winkler Recreation Complex for their second meeting of the season. The two teams first met at the MJHL Showcase in Winnipeg earlier this month which saw the Flyers skate away with a 4-1 win.
Winkler got the early jump on Neepawa on Saturday as newcomer Ian Tookenay finished off a nice pass in front of the net just 1:37 into the game. Jaden Townsend and Jeron Kletzel assisted on Tookenay’s second of the season and first as a Flyer. Just over two minutes later, Neepawa tied it up with a short-handed penalty shot goal.
“I thought we had a really good start and kicked it off with an early goal and that’s always how you want to start, and then they scored on a penalty shot and honestly after that I thought we were in chase mode for the rest of the night,” said Flyers Head Coach Kelvin Cech.
The Flyers regained their lead just past the seven minute mark of the first when Alex Cattani snapped home his first of two on the night on the power-play. The Flyers and Natives would go back and forth from there as Neepawa tied the game again halfway through the period before Jaden Townsend scored to put Winkler back in front a few minutes later. The Natives added another one late in the period and the game went tied 3-3 into the first intermission with the Flyers holding a healthy 19-9 lead on the shot clock.
The second period was much of the same as Winkler moved back in front 4-3 thanks to Jaden Townsend’s second of the night with 8:45 left in the period. The Native’s pushed back in the minutes that followed and pulled even for a fourth time.
The Orange and Black finished the period off strong as Carson Pawlenchuk gave Winkler the lead back with under three minutes left and Alex Cattani scored again in the final two minutes and the Flyers managed to take a 6-4 lead into the break.
“Mentally we didn’t have our A game and we were pretty sloppy but credit to that team (Neepawa), they’re a fast team and they work hard and they out worked us for big chunks of that game and we are lucky to get the win,” added Cech.
The game settled down somewhat in the third as the only offense that was left was a Neepawa power-play goal 8:21 into the period which cut Winkler’s lead to 6-5. The Flyers were able to shut it down the rest of the way to earn their fifth straight victory.
Dorrin Luding picked up the win in net for the Flyers who outshot the Natives 35-23 overall. Winkler went 1-for-3 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill. The Flyers are now 8-0 this season when they score a goal on the man advantage.
The Flyers (9-5-0) will host the Virden Oil Capitals (6-7-3) on Sunday night. Puck drop at the Winkler Rec Complex is 7:30pm. You can also catch the game live on www.hockeytv.com. Sunday’s game is the last home game for the Flyers for nearly three weeks as their next six games will all be played on the road while the Canadian U18 Woman’s Hockey Championship takes over the Winkler Recreation Complex. Be sure to sign up for the Denray Tire Shoot to Win on Sunday for a chance to shoot for up to $1500 in Denray Tire Bucks.