The Winkler Flyers moved into sole possession of first place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings after a convincing 6-3 win over the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Friday night. Troy Martyniuk had a sensational 35 save performance to help the Orange and Black leap over the league’s top club with a dominating performance on home ice.
After beating the Pistons in Steinbach on Tuesday night, the Winkler Flyers welcomed the MJHL’s top club to the Winkler Recreation Complex for the first time this season. The first period was dominated by the Pistons, and if it weren’t for the play of goaltender Troy Martyniuk, the game very well could have been out of hand after the first 20 minutes.
Steinbach struck first on a power-play goal by defenseman Darby Gula with just over five minutes left in the opening period. With 2:27 left in the first, Weiland Parrish stripped a Pistons’ defender of the puck behind the net and found Coltyn Bates in front for his 11th goal of the season. With the Pistons outshooting the Flyers 16-6 after 20 minutes, the two teams skated into the first intermission tied 1-1.
The momentum shifted Winkler’s way in the second, and it started after Flyers’ defenseman Mitch Dyck was assessed a five minute major for a blind side hit just a few minutes into the period. Instead of the visitors taking advantage of the lengthy man advantage, the Flyers would score their league leading sixth short-handed goal of the season just under four minutes into the period. It was defenseman Garrett Kuklica who banked his shot off the back boards, and off the ankles of goaltender Matt Radomsky to give Winkler a 2-1 lead.
Winkler would go on to score two power-play goals later in the period to take a 4-1 lead into the break. The first one came from Captain Nolan McGuire who slammed home his team leading, and league leading 19th goal of the season just past the halfway mark of the middle frame. Just minutes later, Matt Christian and Coltyn Bates assisted on Brady Pupp’s second goal of the year, giving Winker a three goal lead after 40 minutes.
The Flyers, who had not lost a game all year when leading after two periods, added to their lead early in the third. With just over three minutes gone in the third, Matt Christian tipped in a shot from Coltyn Bates and the Flyers led 5-1. Just over a minute later, the Pistons cut Winkler’s lead to 5-2.
It didn’t take Winkler long to get that one back as Michael Redmond would redirect a shot past Radomsky just a few minutes later for his first goal as a Flyer and Winkler found themselves in front 6-2.
Pilot Mound native Tyson McConnell scored a power-play goal for the Pistons late in regulation but by then the damage was already done as the Flyers would go on to win the game 6-3, and move past the Pistons into first place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings.
Troy Martyniuk was sensational between the pipes for Winkler, kicking aside 35 of the 38 shots he faced while earning his league leading 13th win of the season. The Flyers ended up being outshot 38-30 overall. Both teams ended the game 2-for-6 on the power-play.
The Flyers (17-6-0) will host the Virden Oil Capitals (13-6-0) on Saturday night as they look for their third win in a row. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm with advance tickets available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar, Petro Canada Gar Bar or at the door prior to the game.
Prior to the game, the Flyers will recognize their player’s families and billet families in a special pre-game ceremony. You can live stream the game with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F COLTYN BATES (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – D BRADY PUPP (WINKLER)