The line of Tristan Keck, Patrice Wren and Cam Whyte recorded 14 points as the Flyers routed the Neepawa Natives 8-3 in their final home game before the MJHL Christmas break. Winkler raced out to a 5-0 first period lead, and fired nearly 60 shots on net while earning their 22nd win of the season.
Playing the Natives for the first time at home this year, Winkler was looking to hit the win column for the first time in three games against Neepawa. In their two previous meetings at the Yellowhead Centre, Winkler came home with a shoot-out loss and a regulation loss.
The Flyers offense clicked early, as Patrice Wren (9) scored the game’s first goal just 1:21 into the contest. Cam Whyte and Tristan Keck picked up the assists. Just over a minute later, Cam Whyte and Jon Carlson helped Jeff Michiels score his second, giving Winkler a 2-0 lead, 2:22 into the hockey game.
Winkler struck again at the 5:06 mark when Tristan Keck potted his league best 31st with Wren and Whyte assisting. The Flyers next two goals came on the power-play. The first one came off the stick of Bryce Enns (8) with the assists going to Lawson McDonald and Jordan Wall. The second one came from Tristan Keck with Patrice Wren and Zak Hicks assisting on Keck’s second of the game and 32nd of the season.
The first period came to a close with the Flyers outshooting the Natives 17-11 and leading the game 5-0.
The Orange and Black scored the lone goal of the second period, and it came at the 7:03 mark. Skating towards the front of the net, Patrice Wren redirected a nice Tristan Keck pass through Neepawa goaltender Reid Stallard and the Flyers lead had grown to 6-0.
Winkler outshot Neepawa 22-8 in the second period and took their six goal lead into the third.
The Natives finally beat Winkler goaltender Dasan Sydora just over a minute and a half into the third but the Flyers were quick to get that one back. Just over six minutes into the period, Cam Whyte finished off a pretty passing play with Patrice Wren and Scott Gall and the Flyers had regained their six goal lead thanks to Whyte’s 17th of the season.
Neepawa then cut Winkler’s lead to 7-2 at the 9:22 mark of the third, before Evan Last put the Flyers ahead 8-2 just a few minutes later with Winkler’s third power-play goal of the night. Cam Whyte and Lawson McDonald recorded the assists on Last’s fifth of the year.
With Winkler in full control of the hockey game, Neepawa scored their third goal with five seconds left.
Dasan Sydora (18-5-1) was good when called upon making 25 saves in the win. The Flyers outshot Neepawa 56-28 overall. Winkler went 3-for-10 on the power-play and 10-for-10 on the penalty-kill.
Scott Gall and Evan Last returned to the lineup after missing the last number of games due to injury. Gall picked up an assist after missing the last 10 games, while Last scored a goal after sitting out the last four. Patrice Wren finished the game with five points (2 goals – 3 assists), Cam Whyte also recorded five points (1 goal – 4 assists) and Tristan Keck had four points (2 goals – 2 assist). Lawson McDonald also had a multi-point game with two assists.
Winkler (22-10-5) will travel to Steinbach (21-9-4) on Saturday night for their final game before the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Christmas break. In three games against the Pistons this season, the Flyers are (1-2) with both losses coming on the road. Winkler remains in third place in the MJHL Standings, one point back of the second place Winnipeg Blues and three points ahead of the fourth place Pistons.
You can catch Saturday’s game live from the TG Smith Centre in Steinbach with Matt Friesen’s pregame show on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 7:25pm.
The next Flyers’ home game will be December 31st when the Flyers host the Steinbach Pistons in a New Year’s Even matinee at 4:30pm.