Eric Fawkes scored three goals and added three assists as the Winkler Flyers rolled past the Neepawa Natives 7-2 on Friday night, snapping their seven game winless streak. The young line of Fawkes, Colton Friesen and Josh Kagan were in on six of Winkler’s seven goals which helped the club get back on a winning note.
Playing the Natives for the sixth and final time this season, the Flyers were in search of their first win since February 5th while at the same time, trying to hand Neepawa their 15th loss in a row.
The Natives jumped all over the Flyers in the first period but goaltender Riley Morgan was sharp early on and helped the game go scoreless into the first intermission. Neepawa opened the scoring just over six minutes into the middle frame but the rest of the period belonged to Winkler.
With 7:31 left in the period, Colton Friesen snuck a shot through the five-hole on the power-play to tie the game 1-1. Eric Fawkes and Erik Dahl assisted on Friesen’s 11th of the season. Just 17 seconds later, Dahl sent the puck up to Josh Kagan who led Eric Fawkes into the Neepawa zone on a 2-on-1. With Fawkes driving to the front of the net, Kagan fed him with a great pass and the Flyers had their first lead of the game. Just three minutes after that, Fawkes rushed the puck into the zone and scored again to put Winkler in front 3-1 after two periods. All three Winkler goals in the second period came in a span of three minutes and 26 seconds.
The third period started with another Winkler goal and once again it was Fawkes who put it home for his third goal of the game and team leading 15th of the season. Not even a minute later Fawkes spotted Friesen in front of the net and he popped in his second of the game to give Winkler a 5-1 lead.
The Flyers offensive outburst continued later in the period as after the Natives’ had cut Winkler’s lead to 5-2, Everett Bestland jumped on a loose puck and made it 6-2 with his eighth goal of the year. Winkler wasn’t done there as with just over five minutes left in the game, Friesen sprung Josh Kagan on a breakaway and the talented rookie roofed a shot over the shoulder of the Neepawa netminder to push Winkler ahead by five goals.
The line of Eric Fawkes (3 Goals – 3 Assists), Colton Friesen (2 Goals – 2 Assists) and Josh Kagan (1 Goal – 2 Assists) accounted for 13 combined points in the game.
Riley Morgan, who has now started 15 of Winkler’s last 16 games had a very strong game between the pipes making 25 saves in the win as Winkler outshot Neepawa 29-27. It was a bittersweet victory for the Flyers as with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines win over Virden on Friday night, the Flyers were eliminated from playoff contention.
The Flyers will host the Portage Terriers on Sunday night in their final home game of the season. Come early for the Flyers awards ceremony and 20 year old presentations. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex and on www.hockeytv.com will go just after 7:30pm. The game sponsor is Corner 2 Corner Cleaning and Restoration.