The Winkler Flyers regained their series lead over the Virden Oil Capitals on Friday night with a 3-2 double overtime win in Game Five. Scott Gall scored the game winner 5:13 into the fifth period, giving Winkler a 3-2 lead in this best of seven series.
Not even 24 hours after the Oil Caps tied the series 2-2 with a 2-1 win in double overtime, the scene shifted back to Winkler for a pivotal Game Five. After losing their last two games, the Orange and Black were in search of another good effort at home looking to move back into the driver’s seat.
It was a good opening period for the Flyers as they took the game to the visitors early on. Winkler did not allow a shot on goal in the first 14 minutes of the game and would eventually take the lead just before intermission. With 1:15 left in the period, Lawson McDonald let a shot go that bounced off a Virden defender before finding the back of the net. Coltyn Bates and Matt Christian both earned their fourth point of the post season with assists on McDonald’s first of the game. It was just the second time in the five games played so far that the Flyers had scored first.
After an even second period, Winkler took their one goal lead into the third. The first 40 minutes of the game went as well as the Flyers could have hoped, and it seemed that Winkler was in full control despite leading by just a single goal.
The Oil Caps came out swinging to start the third though, tying the game just nine seconds into the period. Just past the three minute mark, Virden scored again to take a 2-1 lead and all of a sudden the tension was back inside the Winkler Rec Complex.
Now trailing for the first time in the game, the Flyers went back on the attack and evened the score at the 6:21 mark of the period. Once again it was Lawson McDonald scoring his second of the night with Braden Billaney and Scott Gall drawing the assists.
For the most part, the third period belonged to Winkler goaltender Troy Martyniuk, who made 15 of his 35 saves during that twenty minute span. With the game still tied after 60 minutes, the Flyers and Oil Caps were headed to overtime for the third time in the series.
With Game Four and Game Five taking place on back to back nights, and with the Oil Caps tying the series 2-2 in double overtime the night before, the depth and determination of the two clubs would be tested on Friday night.
The Oil Capitals power-play had been firing on all cylinders through the first four games, scoring eight of their ten goals with an extra man on the ice. They had scored at least one power-play goal in each of the first four games and were awarded an early man advantage in period four. In the middle of that power-play, Virden took a penalty of their own, forcing a series of four on four action. Neither team managed to score in the first overtime period and for the second straight day a fifth period would be needed.
It didn’t take long for the game to come to an end after the start of double overtime as the Flyers would send the crowd home happy. With 5:13 gone in period five, Game One hero Tyler Lindstrom’s shot got partially stopped by goaltender Riley McVeigh but the rebound rolled off his back and lay just inches from the goal line. Luckily for Winkler, Scott Gall was there to help the puck across the line, sending the Flyers pouring onto the ice in celebration. The Flyers 3-2 victory now gives them a 3-2 lead in this best of seven series, setting up a series clinching game on Sunday night.
Troy Martyniuk earned the win in goal for Winkler making 35 saves on 37 shots. Winkler went 1-for-5 on the power-play and 6-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
Game Six of the series will take place in Virden on Sunday night (7:00pm @ Tundra Oil & Gas Place). Winkler will try to close out the series and advance to the MJHL Semi-Finals for the second year in a row. You can listen to the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 6:55pm.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – D LAWSON MCDONALD (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F SCOTT GALL (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)