Jeff Michiels scored the game winner with 1:06 left in overtime to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Virden Oil Capitals in the rematch of Friday night’s game in Winkler. After the Oil Caps spoiled the Flyers party at home, the Orange and Black returned the favor on Saturday night winning their 10th straight game on the road.
Disappointed with their effort the night before in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Oil Caps, the Flyers had a great start to the game in Virden. Winkler carried the play during the first half of the first period and were rewarded with the game’s opening goal just before the eight minute mark. Standing in front of the Virden net, Jordy Williamson deflected Scott Gall’s shot from the left wing boards into the Oil Caps net to put Winkler in front 1-0. Thomas Mansbridge also assisted on Williamson’s 16th of the season.
Virden pushed back in the back half of the first and tied the game with 6:14 left before intermission. The Flyers, who mustered just two shots in the first period on Friday night, outshot the Oil Caps 11-7 in the opening 20 minutes on Saturday.
The tight checking affair continued in the second period and the score remained 1-1 heading into the third.
Just 3:57 into the period, Thomas Mansbridge passed the puck across the crease to Scott Gall who scored his 31st goal of the season putting Winkler ahead 2-1. Williamson also picked up his second point of the net with an assists.
However, Oil Caps forward Ben Dalke would score his second of the night with 7:39 left on the clock to send the game to extra time. It was the fourth time in the Flyers last six games that 60 minutes wasn’t enough to decide the winner.
The exciting back and forth action continued in overtime and the game would come to an end with just 1:06 left in the extra frame. Taking the pass from Connor Hamonic at his own blue line, Nolan McGuire weaved his way down the ice and into the right wing corner of the Virden zone. From there he swung a pass to the far side of the net to a charging Jeff Michiels who scored his 17th of the year to give Winkler the 3-2 victory.
Connor Slipp, who made a number of key saves at the end of the third and again in overtime, made 21 stops while increasing his record to 18-4-0. Winkler outshot Virden 27-23. Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power-play. The Flyers ended their six game season series with a 3-3 record against Virden, with five of the six games being decided by a single goal.
The Flyers (41-13-4) will finish the 2015-2016 season in third place, with the Steinbach Pistons remaining four points ahead of Winkler with just two regular season games left. The Pistons hold the tie breaker, should the two teams finish the regular season tied.
Winkler will host the Selkirk Steelers in their final regular season home game on Tuesday, March 1st (7:30pm @ Winkler Recreation Complex). The Flyers are 2-1-2 against Selkirk this season. Make sure to come early to the game as another big crowd is expected. Prior to the game, the Flyers will hand out their team awards as well as the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries “Impact” Player of the Month award.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Jeff Michiels (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Scott Gall (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Jordy Williamson (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer of the Game.
D Nathan Karlowsky