It was the last chance for a number of the players still in Flyers’ camp, as the club travelled to the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa to face the Natives in their fourth game of the MJHL preseason. After beating the visiting Natives 5-2 on Friday night, the Flyers lost 3-1 Saturday evening in the road portion of the home and home series.
With nearly 35 players still vying for the 25 available spots on the opening night roster, the Flyers went to Neepawa with a healthy mix of young hopefuls and returning veterans. The game did not have the same emotion as the night before, but the chances to find the back of the net were still there. But this time, Winkler failed to turn most of those chances into goals.
The Natives drew first blood with 3:18 left in the first period and would double their lead on the power-play with just under five minutes left in the second. After a sluggish opening frame, the Flyers played well in period number two, but didn’t have the right touch around the Neepawa net.
Winkler did cut the Natives’ lead to 2-1 when Dylan Burton found the back of the net from the right wing side with 3:21 remaining in the period. Lawson McDonald and Jeff Michiels assisted.
Still down by a goal in the third, the Flyers again generated chances but not results as Neepawa restored their two goal lead just 3:40 into the final period.
Winkler outshot Neepawa 32-26 overall. Connor Slipp got his first start of the preseason and made 23 saves in the loss.
The Flyers will now have a number of days to get their roster sorted out before the final weekend of the MJHL exhibition season. The Flyers and Thief River Falls Norskies (SIJHL) will play a home and home series, Friday and Saturday. Friday is a road game for the Flyers with Saturday’s affair taking place at the Winkler Rec Complex (7:30pm).