The Winkler Flyers dropped a fast paced, hard hitting 4-2 decision to the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Tuesday night in their first real home game in over a month. Connor Beebe and Brody Moffatt both scored for the Flyers who came up short at the end despite playing one of their best games in recent memory.
Back at the Winkler Recreation Complex after spending the entire month of November based in Morden due to the arena shutdown in their home rink, the Flyers had a good jump in their step aided in part by a number of fresh new faces in the line-up.
The Flyers had good pressure right from the opening faceoff, but for the 10th time in their last 11 games, they would give up the first goal of the game as Boedy Vaeth would tip a point shot past Britt League before the game was six minutes old. Then with 8:23 gone in the first period, Brendan Martin doubled Steinbach’s lead to 2-0 with a short-handed breakaway goal.
Moments later, the Flyers cut the Pistons’ lead to 2-1 with a short-handed goal of their own. After carrying the puck into the Steinbach zone on a 2-on-1, Jayden McCarthy sent it towards the net where Captain Connor Beebe chipped it over the shoulder of goaltender Matt Lenz for his third of the season and first in his last 13 games.
The Pistons would get another good bounce around the net before the end of the first and took a 3-1 lead into the break.
Winkler continued their solid play in the middle frame and made it a one goal game with 2:27 left on the clock. Near the end of a great shift by the newly formed line of Brody Moffatt, Griffin Leonard and newcomer Michael Boutoussov, the puck went from defenseman Caydon Meyer down to Moffatt who snuck a quick shot through the legs of the goaltender to cut Steinbach’s lead to 3-2. It was Moffatt’s team leading ninth of the season.
In search of the tying goal in the third, the Orange and Black pushed hard for the equalizer well into the final minute of regulation. With the Flyers’ net empty with 39 seconds left on the clock, the Pistons sealed the victory when a clearing attempt from their own goal line banked off the boards and right into the open Winkler net to make the final 4-2 for the visitors.
Britt League made 29 saves on the 32 shots he faced as the Pistons outshot the Flyers 33-30 overall. Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power-play but did score one short-handed.
The Flyers will travel to Beausejour on Saturday night to face the Selkirk Steelers in their second of six meetings. Puck drop at the Sun Gro Centre is 7:30pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show on Country 88 and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm. You can also watch the game with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com