The Winkler Flyers came from behind in the third period to earn a single point on Sunday night, falling 6-5 in overtime to the visiting Dauphin Kings. It was a wildly entertaining, nasty, back and forth affair that resembled more of a 1980’s matchup between the Flyers and Kings than a 2019 version.
Sunday night was Winkler Auto Dealers – Hockey Fights Cancer Night and thanks to the support of Crocus Real Estate, a huge crowd was on hand with admission to the game being free of charge. The Flyers and Kings had met once before this season which saw the Flyers out-score the Kings 7-6 in overtime, November 8th in Dauphin.
After a pregame ceremony to honour those who have lost their battles with cancer, including long time Flyers’ supporter, Greg Ens, the Flyers and Kings went to work. It was an entertaining opening 20 minutes, and it was the Kings who opened the scoring on the power-play midway through the first period. Power-play goals would turn out to be a major theme in the game.
Early in the second, Dauphin scored again on the power-play to double their lead to 2-0. Then just past the halfway point of the second, the Kings tallied again to put the Flyers in a 3-0 hole. Just moments after that, the frustrations boiled over and a melee broke out which ended with Winkler goaltender Dorrin Luding and Dauphin forward Avery Smith being kicked out of the game for fighting. All other skaters on the ice, except for Kings’ goaltender Zach Grouette were given misconducts and a total of 126 minutes in penalties were handout in that event.
That seemed to spark the Flyers as they would hit the scoresheet themselves on the power-play with five minutes left before intermission. After driving the puck into the Dauphin zone down the left wing side, Jayden McCarthy sent a pass over to Jaden Townsend to shovelled home his eighth of the season to cut Dauphin’s lead to 3-1.
The Kings got that one back just before the nine minute mark of the third when Nakodan Greyeyes scored his third of the game on the power-play and the Flyers were once again down by three. However, the no quit Flyers got to work and got themselves back in the game.
With 9:46 left in regulation, Sulivan Shortreed scored his team leading 17th goal of the season on the power-play and Dauphin’s lead was cut to 4-2. Former King Ian Tookenay and Jayden McCarthy picked up the assists. After already increasing his point streak to nine earlier in the game, McCarthy has now earned 18 points over that nine game stretch.
Just over a minute later, Bryce Krauter took the outlet pass from Nathan Poolman, raced into the Dauphin zone and picked the top corner to bring the Flyers to within a goal. Then with 4:27 left on the clock, rookie defenseman Trent Sambrook’s shot sailed through a crowd in front and into the back of the net to tie the game 4-4. After the Kings moved back in front 5-4, thanks to their fourth power-play goal of the game, the Flyers went back to work in search of another equalizer. On the power-play themselves in the final moments of regulation, the Flyers pulled goaltender Dylan Meilun to make it a 6-on-4 man advantage. After Jaden Townsend won the faceoff to the right of the Dauphin net, Nathan Poolman’s shot from the point made it perfectly into the top corner to tie the game 5-5 with 71 seconds left on the clock. It was Poolman’s third point of the night and 10th as part of a six game point streak.
With the game still tied after 60 minutes and a point earned by both clubs, the Kings would end it just 1:19 into the fourth period to win the game 6-5.
The nearly 1,200 fans in attendance were treated to a wild game with 11 goals scored, seven of them on the power-play and nearly 180 minutes in penalties handed out between the two teams.
Dorrin Luding got the no decision with eight saves on the 11 shots he faced. Dylan Meilun played tremendous in relief, making 23 saves on the 26 shots that came his way. Dauphin outshot Winkler 37-25 overall. Winkler went 3-for-6 on the power-play and 5-for-9 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (17-6-3) have now earned at least a point in 16 of their last 17 games and sit one point behind the first place Steinbach Pistons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Standings. The Flyers next game is Friday night when they make the return trip to Dauphin to face the Kings again. In fact, three of Winkler’s next five games will be against the Kings. Puck drop on Friday night at Credit Union Place is 7:30pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 7:25pm on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com. You can also video stream the game with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com