The Winkler Flyers improved their preseason record to (4-2) with a solid 4-1 win in Neepawa on Friday night. Ryan Larochelle made 25 saves on 26 shots while Nico Labossiere, Cam Whyte, Braden Billaney and Lawson McDonald scored for the Flyers in the first of three preseason games in three days.
Looking to extend their exhibition season winning streak to three games, the Flyers travelled to the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa for the first of back to back games against the Natives.
Just 3:04 into the hockey game, Thomas Mansbridge and Nolan McGuire assisted on Nico Labossiere’s fourth goal in his last three games giving Winkler the early lead. The Flyers doubled that lead to 2-0 with 7:25 remaining in the first thanks to a shorthanded goal by 20 year old forward Cam Whyte. Lawson McDonald assisted on the goal. Winkler took their two goal advantage into the second period.
Justin Metcalf would score the only Neepawa goal of the night, 1:23 into the second period, cutting Winkler’s lead in half. The Flyers would get that one back on the power-play later in the period. With 21 seconds to play before intermission, Coltyn Bates and Alex Bouchard assisted on Braden Billaney’s first of the preseason, restoring Winkler’s two goal advantage heading into the third period.
Bouchard drew his second assist on Lawson McDonald’s short-handed goal, 13:19 into the third to push the Flyers in front by a 4-1 score.
Larochelle kicked aside 25 saves on 26 shots as the Flyers outshot the Natives 30-26. The game had a lot of emotion for an exhibition contest with a pair of fights and some hard hitting, physical play.
Winkler will host the Natives on Saturday night in the final home game of the preseason. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm.
Third year defenseman Connor Hamonic (96) will serve as the Winkler Flyers Captain for the 2015-2016 season. Fourth year forwards Tristan Keck (95), third year defensemen Nathan Karlowsky (95) and Lawson McDonald (97) and second year forward Kayden Jarvis (95) will serve as Assistant Captains.