The Winkler Flyers scored five unanswered goals in a 5-1 win over the Swan Valley Stampeders to kick off their three game weekend road trip. Matt Christian led the way in a goal and two assists to help the Flyers get past the Stampeders for the fifth time this season.
Looking to get back on track after a Tuesday night loss to the Steinbach Pistons, the Flyers hopped on the bus for their final northern road trip of the season. With four wins in four tries against Swan Valley, the Flyers were looking for a solid start to the road trip.
The Flyers were a bit off in the opening 20 minutes as the Stamps took a 1-0 lead just before the four minute mark of the first. Struggling to get going, Winkler trailed after 20 minutes for just the eighth time this season.
It was a much improved effort from the Orange and Black in the second as they started to take over the game. Just moments after a successful penalty-kill, Coltyn Bates swatted the puck out of mid-air to tie the game 1-1 before the second period was three minutes old. Mitch Dyck and Matt Christian assisted on Bates’ 11th goal of the year, increasing his point streak to five games.
With the Flyers back on the penalty-kill a few minutes later, Matt Christian intercepted a pass at the Swan Valley blueline, rushed into the zone and scored his 14th of the season to give Winkler their first lead of the game.
Winkler would increase their lead to 3-1 before the end of the second thanks to Brody Moffatt’s first Manitoba Junior Hockey League goal with two minutes left before the break. Will Blake and Gino Lucia picked up the assists. Outshooting the Stampeders 23-16 through 40 minutes, the Flyers took their two goal lead into the final period.
Things continued to go Winkler’s way in the final period as they increased their lead to 4-1 with 9:04 left on the clock. Chasing down a loose puck in the Swan Valley zone, Matt Christian poked it through the legs of goaltender Brett Evens before getting trampled by the Swan Valley defense. With the play still alive, Nolan McGuire skated in and shot the puck into the Stampeders net for his 16th goal of the year.
The Flyers added their fifth goal of the game with 3:33 to go thanks to a great display of determination from Tyler Jubenvill who assisted on Tanner Lewis’ ninth of the year.
Cole Weaver (21-6-2) made 20 saves in the win as the Flyers outshot Swan Valley 34-21. Winkler went 0-for-7 on the power-play and 8-for-8 on the penalty-kill.
With the win, the Flyers (32-11-2) have taken back second place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings. Winkler will travel to OCN (29-15-3) on Saturday night for their second game of the weekend. The Flyers are 3-1 against OCN this season. Puck drop at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre in OCN is 7pm with the pregame show live on Country 88.9fm and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 6:55pm.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F BRODY MOFFATT (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F BRETT OPPERMAN (WINKLER)