The Winkler Flyers advanced to the second round of the MJHL Playoffs thanks to a 4-1 win over the OCN Blizzard in Game 5 of the Quarter-Finals. The victory gave the Flyers a 4-1 series win and a date with the Steinbach Pistons in the MJHL Semi-Finals.

After failing to sweep the Blizzard in their Game Four loss in OCN on Tuesday, the Flyers returned to the Winkler Recreation Complex looking to clinch the series on home ice. With over a thousand fans cheering them on, the Orange and Black came out of the gate with an extra jump in their step.

Outscoring the Blizzard 7-1 in the first period during the first four games of the series, the Flyers hit the score board first in Game Five. After picking up the puck in his own zone, Flyers forward Jason Cohan skated towards the OCN net and beat goaltender Emiliem Boily with a wrist shot, 7:48 into the game.

Nearly three minutes later, OCN forward Bryce MacInnis found a loose puck in front of the Winkler goal and tied the game 1-1. The Flyers fought back from their brief setback and took the lead right back with 7:02 left in the first period. Creeping in from the point, Lawson McDonald picked the top corner for his second goal of the post season. Kayden Jarvis and Tristan Keck assisted.

Leading the game 2-1 after the first period, Winkler dominated the play in the second. After generating many great scoring chances in the period, Thomas Mansbridge spotted Jeff Michiels in the left wing slot and the Holland native scored his first of the playoffs to give Winkler a 3-1 lead. The Flyers took their two goal lead into the third, while outshooting the Blizzard 37-17 through 40 minutes.

Just 20 minutes away from advancing to the MJHL Semi-Final for the first time in five years, the Flyers kept attacking the Blizzard goal in the third period. The period was clipping along very well for Winkler until it hit a road block with just a few minutes left.

With just under three minutes to play in regulation, the Flyers took a penalty. And just 30 seconds after that, they took another one to give the Blizzard a two man advantage. Needing two goals to tie the game and keep their season alive, OCN also pulled their goaltender to give themselves a 6-on-3 power-play for almost a minute and a half.

The Flyers penalty-kill had been perfect until this point in the series, and would remain that way thanks to the strong play of goaltender Nathan Warren and the rest of the Flyers penalty-killers. After the first penalty expired to Kayden Jarvis, the puck got cleared down into the Blizzard zone where Jarvis caught up to it in behind the net and tucked it in on the wrap around to give the Flyers all the insurance they needed. The goal, which gave Winkler a 4-1 lead with 41 seconds left on the clock, was Winkler’s third short-handed goal of the series.

Nathan Warren, who finished the first round with the MJHL’s best Goals Against Average (1.41) and Save Percentage (.961), made 33 saves in the win. The Flyers outshot OCN 60-34 overall. Winkler went 0-for-7 on the power-play and 4-for-4 on the penalty-kill. Winkler did not allow a single power-play goal against in the series going 16-for-16 on the penalty-kill.

The Flyers outscored the Blizzard 16-8 during the five game series, and held OCN Captain Logan Harland, who was second in the MJHL scoring race with 95 points during the regular season, to zero points in the series.

Winkler will now prepare to face the Steinbach Pistons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Semi-Final. The Pistons, who finished the regular season in second place will have home ice advantage over the third place Flyers. The dates for the series will be announced early next week. Winkler was 3-2-1 against Steinbach during the regular season.


Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars

1st Star – F Kayden Jarvis (Winkler)

2nd Star – G Emiliem Boily (OCN)

3rd Star – F Lawson McDonald (Winkler)


Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer

D Connor Hamonic


Game Stats