The Winkler Flyers season came to an end on Thursday night with a 6-5 loss to the Virden Oil Capitals in Game Four of the MJHL Semi-Final. The Orange and Black battled right to the end but just couldn’t get the job done in the deciding game of the series.
Facing elimination, the Winkler Flyers returned to home ice looking to keep their season alive and pick up their first win of the series. The opening 20 minutes in Game Four were nearly perfect for the Flyers as defensemen Erik Dahl and Mitch Dyck both scored in the period to give Winkler a 2-0 lead after the first. It was Dahl’s first of the playoffs and Dyck’s team leading 14th point of the playoffs.
The second frame, which had been a struggle for Winkler throughout the playoffs started out very well with two more goals. First it was Coltyn Bates picking up his third point of the night with his third goal of the post-season just 12 seconds in and Winkler had a 3-0 lead.
The Flyers increased their lead to 4-0 before the period was seven minutes old when Brody Moffatt scored his first of the playoffs on the power-play and Winkler seemed to be in perfect position to send the series back to Virden for Game Five. However, the Oil Capitals started to wear down the injury plagued Flyers and cut Winkler’s lead to 4-1 with 7:58 gone in the period. Virden scored again just over a minute later, this time on the power-play, but the Flyers still led by two.
After scoring four goals in the second period in their Game Three victory on Tuesday night, the Oil Capitals offense continued to roll and scored twice more to tie the game 4-4 with 6:27 left before intermission. Winkler did retake the lead before the end of the period when Weiland Parrish hunted down the puck in the crease and scored his fifth of the playoffs to make the score 5-4 Winkler through 40 minutes.
Goaltender Troy Martyniuk, who was injured during a collision in Game Three, was unavailable on Thursday night and joined regular season leading scorer Matt Christian, Captain Nolan McGuire, Jacob Lacasse and Lucas Barker as players not able to suit up for the game.
The fully healthy Caps seemed to have more gas in the tank in the third and tied the game 5-5 with a power-play goal just five minutes into the final period. With the game on the line late in the period, Virden forward Dylan Thiessen managed to flip a shot past the glove of Winkler starter Aaron Brunn with just 2:36 left in regulation and Virden would go on to win the game 6-5 and take the series in four games.
Brunn made 39 saves in the game as the Oil Capitals outshot the Flyers 45-36. Both teams were 2-for-4 on the power-play.
The Flyers will now say goodbye to their eight 20 year olds as Troy Martyniuk, Nolan McGuire, Matt Christian, Coltyn Bates, Will Blake, Brett Opperman, Weiland Parrish and Mitch Dyck will all be graduating from Junior Hockey. The entire Flyers organization would like to thank them for their service and wish them nothing but the best in the future as they have all made the organization and the community proud.
The Flyers would also like to thank the sponsors, volunteers, bus drivers, fans, billet families and supporters for everything they’ve done during the season and look forward to doing it all over again next season.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST – F BEN DALKE (VIRDEN)
2ND – F KOLTON KANASKI (VIRDEN)
3RD – F COLTYN BATES (WINKLER)