The line of Weiland Parrish, Matt Christian and Coltyn Bates recorded nine points combined as the Winkler Flyers doubled up the visiting Neepawa Natives 6-3 on Wednesday night. Starting a stretch of four home games to end the regular season, the Orange and Black scored early and often as they put the brakes on a three game losing streak.
This game had a lot of meaning for both clubs, with the Flyers looking to move closer to fourth place and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, while the Natives were just fighting for their playoff lives entering play on the outside looking in. In their previous five meetings, the Natives had won three of them including both games played in Winkler.
It didn’t take Winkler long to open the scoring as Weiland Parrish put the home side on the board first just 23 seconds into the game. After Neepawa had tied the game midway through the first, Coltyn Bates and Matt Christian set up Parrish for a nice 5-on-3 power-play goal with just 1:09 left in the period and Winkler was back in front 2-1. It was Parrish’s second of the night and sixth in his last six games. Still on the power-play, Winkler would add another one with just 16 seconds left before intermission thanks to Brody Moffatt’s seventh of the year and the Flyers took their 3-1 lead into the break. With points already in the first period, Matt Christian and Coltyn Bates had increased their point streaks to six games.
The second period started with another Winkler goal just over six minutes in as Matt Christian found the back of the net for the 29th time this season with Coltyn Bates and Weiland Parrish assisting. Just over three minutes later, Neepawa scored their second goal to cut Winkler’s lead to 4-2.
Then with 4:07 left in the period Brett Opperman and Mitch Dyck picked up the helpers on Will Blake’s 14th of the season to restore Winkler’s three goal lead. After going 15 games without a goal, Blake now has two in his last three games. However, Neepawa scored again with 55 seconds left on the clock and Winkler took a 5-3 lead into the final period with a 29-17 lead on the shot clock.
The emotions and intensity picked up in the final frame with a total of 42 penalty minutes handed out in the final 20 minutes alone. The Flyers would put the game away officially with their third power-play goal of the game at the 8:38 mark of the final period. And once again it was Parrish and Bates assisting on Matt Christian’s second of the night and 30th goal of the season.
Troy Martyniuk picked up his league leading 27th win in goal as the Flyers outshot the Natives 46-29. Winkler went 3-for-4 on the power-play and 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (33-24-0), who are now just two points behind the fourth place OCN Blizzard will host the Virden Oil Capitals in their next game on Saturday night. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm. It will be another Winkler Canvas 40th Anniversary $10,000 Shoot to Win night.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F WEILAND PARRISH (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F COLTYN BATES (WINKLER)