The Winkler Flyers earned themselves a big 4-1 victory in Selkirk on Tuesday night, back stopped by a great performance by goaltender Cole Weaver. The Orange and Black started strong and never looked back as they took the season series with Selkirk and increased their lead over the third place Steelers to six points.
Entering play on Tuesday, the Flyers knew the importance of their final regular season match up with Selkirk. With a four point gap between themselves and the Steelers, and the season series on the line, Winkler came out of the gate firing on all cylinders.
Just past the five minute mark of the first, Winkler was rewarded for their hot start when Coltyn Bates hit the back of the net to give Winkler a 1-0. Bates would strike again just over three minutes later on the power-play when he finished off a nice passing sequence with linemates Ian Mackey and Matt Christian. It was Bates’ 16th goal of the year and fifth in his last three games. It was also Mackey’s fourth point in his last four games and Christian’s 10th point in a span of eight games as that line continued to produce.
With a 13-3 lead on the shot clock, the Flyers took their two goal lead into the second period. The Steelers picked up their game in the middle frame but it was Cole Weaver and the Winkler defense that kept the Flyers in the lead.
Selkirk outshot Winkler 12-7 in the period, but it was the Flyers who would tack on two more goals. The first was another power-play marker by Matt Christian (18), with Ian Mackey and Connor Hamonic drawing the assists.
Just after a series of impressive saves by Weaver later in the period, Will Blake took a pass from Brett Opperman in front of the Selkirk net, turned and fired home his ninth of the year to extend Winkler’s lead to 4-0 with 9:47 left in the period.
The Steelers would finally solve Weaver on the power-play with 2:26 left in regulation to cut Winkler’s lead to 4-1.
Weaver made 26 saves while improving his record to (24-7-2). The Flyers outshot Selkirk 28-27 overall. Winkler went 2-for-4 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill. The Flyers (2nd Place) now lead the OCN Blizzard and Selkirk Steelers (T-3rd Place) by six points in the MJHL Standings with nine regular season games left. The Flyers also win the season series with Selkirk, winning four of the six games.
The Flyers will travel to Steinbach on Friday night to face the Pistons for the fifth time this season (1-2-1). Puck drop at the TG Smith Centre is 7:30pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm.
NOTE: Braden Billaney, Gino Lucia and Brayden Cullum left Tuesdays game will injuries. Their status will be re-evaluated in the coming days. Scott Gall, Jeff Michiels, Tyler Lindstrom and Brody Moffatt remain out of the line up with injuries. Pembina Valley Hawks F Cade Kowalski played his second game of the season for Winkler on Tuesday night as an AP and played very well.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G COLE WEAVER (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F COLTYN BATES (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)