The Winkler Flyers increased their home ice winning streak to seven games on Tuesday night with a 3-2, come from behind win over the first place Steinbach Pistons. Sulivan Shortreed scored the game winner on the power-play early in overtime after Jayden McCarthy sent the game to extra time with a power-play goal late in regulation.
Tuesday's game was a big test for the Orange and Black as they welcomed the first place club in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, putting their eight game point streak on the line. The Flyers and Pistons had split their four previous meetings with Winkler coming out on top in the last two contests. With a 7-0-1 record in their last eight games, the Flyers last two games were also decided in extra time including a 4-3 win over the visiting OCN Blizzard on Sunday night.
The Pistons drew first blood, as Jack Kilroy found the back of the net just 3:52 into the game. The game was a very tight checking affair and was even and entertaining from start to finish. Winkler managed to tie the game up before intermission when Eric Fawkes flipped in his third of the season with just under four minutes to go in the opening period. Newcomer Kaeden Tenkoppel picked up the lone assist.
Steinbach forward Zach Purcell scored the only goal in the middle frame and the visitors carried their one goal lead into the third. The Flyers found themselves in a tough spot heading into the final period, having won just one game all season when trailing after 40 minutes and having to do it against the best defensive club in the MJHL.
Winkler pushed hard for the equalizer in the third, and managed to draw a penalty in the final minutes of the period to set themselves up for a wild finish. With just 1:32 left in regulation, and with goaltender Dorrin Luding on the bench in favour of an extra attacker, Jayden McCarthy collected his own rebound and snapped a shot under the cross bar to tie the game 2-2. Griffin Leonard picked up the assist on McCarthy's team leading 26th goal of the season.
With the game moving to overtime, the Flyers drew another penalty in the opening moments of the fourth period which set up a perfect scenario for Winkler to win the game. Moving the puck around on the 4-on-3 man-advantage, Drake Burgin sent a pass into the slot for Griffin Leonard who sent a shot on goal. After Leonard's wrister kicked off the right pad of Goaltender Matt Lenz, the rebound went straight to Sulivan Shortreed who wired in his 24th of the season and sixth in his last six games to give Winkler the 3-2 victory.
Dorrin Luding (19-7-3) earned his eighth win in his last 10 starts, stopping 19 of the 21 shots that came his way. Winkler outshot Steinbach 26-21 overall. The Flyers went 2-for-5 on the power-play and 1-for-1 on the penalty-kill. The Flyers are now 18-4-3 when they outshoot their opponent and 22-2-2 when they score on the power-play.
The Flyers (27-10-5) remain in second place in the MJHL Standings, now just five points back of the first place Pistons. Winkler will hit the road for their next three games starting Thursday night in Virden. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen's pregame show beginning at 7:25pm. You can also live stream the game with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com