The Winkler Flyers lost a 4-3 shootout decision to the Swan Valley Stampeders on Saturday night in the first game of a mini two game road trip. Trailing 3-0 with just over 12 minutes to play in regulation, the Flyers managed to tie the game to force overtime and pick up a very important point on the road.
Winners of their last three games, the Flyers made their final regular season trip to Swan River looking to keep their recent success going. The Flyers and Stampeders had met three times before, with Winkler winning all three meetings by a combined score of 14-2. Coming into the game, the Flyers had not only won their last three games but had earned at least a point in eight of their last nine games.
It was a pretty rough start for Winkler on Saturday night as they struggled to hit their stride in the opening period. Swan Valley scored midway through the first to take a 1-0 lead and outshot the Flyers 19-9 through 20 minutes.
Winkler turned things around in the second and started to play much better. However, the Stampeders doubled their lead to 2-0 just over five minutes into the period. The Orange and Black continued to attack the Swan Valley net in the middle frame and appeared to score their first goal of the game when Cam Whyte wrung a shot off the goal post and in. Unfortunately for Winkler, the referee decided to wave off the goal and the Flyers still trailed 2-0 through two periods. Winkler outshot Swan19-7 in the second.
The Stampeders increased their lead to three goals, 7:15 into the third period which seemed to spark the Flyers offense. To that point in the game, the Flyers had been getting a lot of chances but no goals. Just 23 seconds after the third Stampeders’ goal, Nathan Karlowsky fed a pretty pass over to Bryce Enns who one-timed in his 11th of the season, cutting Swan Valley’s lead to 3-1. Jagger Thomas drew the second assist.
With 9:29 to play in regulation, Scott Gall took a pass from Patrice Wren in front of the net and potted his 21st of the year to pull the Flyers to within a goal. Now looking for the equalizer, Winkler kept attacking the Stamps net.
The Flyers pulled Dasan Sydora in the final minute in favor of the extra attacker and the gamble paid off. With just 51 seconds left on the clock, Lawson McDonald and Jon Carlson assisted on Gall’s second of the game, tying the contest at three, and securing at least a point for Winkler by forcing overtime. Not only was it the Morden native’s second of the game, it was his sixth goal in his last four outings.
With one point already in their back pocket, the Flyers went looking for the second one in overtime. After both teams failed to find the back of the net in overtime, the game was headed to a shootout.
Bryce Enns shot first for Winkler and scored. The next four shooters missed in their attempts before Swan’s Braydon McDonald scored to keep the Stampeders alive in the competition. The shootout remained tied 1-1 until BJ Avery scored with the final shot of round six to give the Stampeders the extra point and the 4-3 victory. Winkler record in shootout games falls to (1-8)
It was an important point for Winkler after battling through a slow start and a three goal deficit in the third period.
Dasan Sydora made 37 saves as his record moves to (24-8-5). The Flyers outshot Swan Valley 46-40 in the game, 34-18 alone in the second and third periods. Winkler went 0-for-4 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (28-14-11) will travel down to Virden (28-15-8) on Sunday night for a big game against the Oil Capitals. The fourth place Flyers lead the fifth place Oil Caps by three points in the standings with just seven games left in the 2014-15 regular season. Winkler is (0-3-1) against Virden this season. Puck drop at Tundra Oil and Gas Place is 6:30pm on Sunday.