The Winkler Flyers moved back into sole possession of second place in the MJHL standings with a 3-1 win in Winnipeg on Saturday night. Nolan McGuire and Will Blake both finished the game with a goal and an assist to help the Flyers win their final road game of the regular season.
Having lost their last two games in this critical part of the season, the Flyers entered play in a three way tie for second with OCN and Selkirk. With Saturday’s game being one of the two games that the Flyers had in hand on the Blizzard and Steelers, a victory would go a long way to securing home ice into the semi-finals.
It was a good opening period for the Flyers as they carried the play throughout much of the first 20 minutes. In their previous four meetings with the Blues, it was Winkler who scored first resulting in wins in three of those four games. With 9:52 to play in the first, Nolan McGuire fired a shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle, picking the top corner to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Will Blake and Connor Hamonic assisted on McGuire’s 19th of the year.
Early in the second period, Coltyn Bates slapped in a rebound off a shot from Ian Mackey to double Winkler’s lead to 2-0. Matt Christian also assisted on Bates’ 18th. Outshooting Winnipeg 23-17 through two periods, The Flyers took their two goal lead into the third.
The Blues, who are in a playoff race themselves trying to secure sixth spot, played with more jump in the third and cut into Winkler’s lead early in the period. With 2:29 gone in the period, Winnipeg capitalized on the power-play and Winkler’s lead was down to a single goal.
With Winnipeg back in the game, the rest of the third was tense with some good chances at both ends of the ice. Winkler finally got the insurance goal they were looking for with 37 seconds left in regulation. With the Winnipeg goaltender on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, Nolan McGuire and Tanner Lewis assisted on Will Blake’s 13th of the year into the empty Blues net and Winkler would go on to win the game 3-1.
Troy Martyniuk got the win between the pipes for the Flyers with another solid effort. He stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced while improving his record to 9-1-1 as a Flyer. The shots were tied 26-26. Winkler was 0-for-5 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill. The Flyers are now 4-1 against the Blues this season with their final meeting coming up Friday night back in Winkler.
The Flyers (39-15-3) now have a two point lead on the OCN Blizzard and Selkirk Steelers for second place in the MJHL Standings with a game in hand on both clubs. The Flyers will play their final three regular season games at home, starting with their final meeting of the year against the Neepawa Natives on Tuesday night. Winkler is 5-0 against the Natives this season.
Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm with advance tickets available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or at the door prior to the game.
NOTE: Flyers D Tyler Lindstrom returned to the line up on Saturday night after missing the last six games with an injury. Scott Gall, Jeff Michiels, Brayden Cullum and Brody Moffatt once again missed the game due to injury.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F NOLAN McGUIRE (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F WILL BLAKE (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)