The Winkler Flyers will face off against the Virden Oil Capitals in Game One of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Best of Seven Semi-Final, Friday night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place in Virden. After a thrilling six game opening round series win over the OCN Blizzard, the Flyers are set to battle the Oil Caps in the post season for the second consecutive year, and third time in the last four seasons.
Getting past the Blizzard in thrilling fashion with a 7-6 overtime win in Game Six, the Flyers will look to carry some momentum from Round One into the second round against the second seed in the MJHL. The Flyers won just twice in six regular season games against Virden, picking up one victory on the road and one at home.
Special teams have been an important theme for Winkler so far in the playoffs, and especially during their regular season series against Virden. The Flyers lead the MJHL with eight playoff power-play goals and have scored 15 times on the power-play in their last 12 games dating back to the regular season.
During the regular season, the Oil Caps scored at least one power-play in each game against Winkler. The Flyers on the other hand also scored on the man advantage in every game except one. Virden outscored Winkler 29-21 in the six regular season meetings, while outshooting the Flyers 221-197. The Flyers, who have already defeated a higher seeded team in the post-season will try to do it again against a team that won 21 of their 30 games played at home this season. Virden defeated the Selkirk Steelers in five games in their Semi-Final series.
The Flyers win in Round One was due in large part to a solid team effort from all 25 players on the roster. Battling through a number of significant injuries, the Flyers have received at least a point from 18 of their 23 skaters. Winkler also has the MJHL point leader in the playoffs (Mitch Dyck – 12) and the playoff goal leader (Brett Opperman – 6) after Round One.
The second place Oil Capitals will prove to be a tough test for the fifth place Flyers with their depth in scoring, solid young defense and stingy goaltending. Winkler will need to continue to improve upon what made them successful against the Blizzard if they want to move past the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Each and every Flyers playoff game can be heard live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen and Darrell Wheeler. You can also watch the game’s live with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com
MJHL Semi-Final Schedule
GAME ONE: Winkler @ Virden – Friday, March 23rd (7:30pm)
GAME TWO: Virden @ Winkler – Sunday, March 25th (7:30pm)
GAME THREE: Winkler @ Virden – Tuesday, March 27th (7:30pm)
GAME FOUR: Virden @ Winkler – Thursday, March 29th (7:30pm)
GAME FIVE: Winkler @ Virden – Saturday, March 31st (7:30pm) *if necessary
GAME SIX: Virden @ Winkler – Monday, April 2nd (7:30pm) *if necessary
GAME SEVEN: Winkler @ Virden – Wednesday, April 4th (7:30pm) *if necessary
Adult Tickets (19+): $14
Student Tickets (13-18): $8
Child Tickets (5-12):$5
Children 5-under: Free
Tickets are available at the Winkler/Morden Coop Gas Bar, Petro Canada Gas Bar, or at the door prior to the game.