The Winkler Flyers won their eighth straight game at home, blanking the visiting Swan Valley Stampeders 4-0 on Friday night. Brett Opperman had a goal and an assist, and Cole Weaver earned his second shutout of the year to help the Flyers improve their record to 17-7-0.
After beating Selkirk 6-1 in their last game on Tuesday night, the Flyers welcomed a Stampeders club who were 4-1-1 in their last six games and had not lost in regulation since November the 2nd. Winkler beat the Stamps in their first meeting of the year in early October, with this matchup being the first one on home ice for the Flyers.
It was a great start to the game for Winkler, as they carried the play and put pressure on the goaltender right from the opening faceoff. For the 18th time in 24 games, the Flyers opened the scoring. With 7:43 left to play in the first period, Brett Opperman took the puck away from the Stampeders’defense and beat former Flyer Connor Slipp to give Winkler a 1-0 lead.
The Flyers doubled their lead to 2-0 later in the period when Matt Christian banged in a rebound to score his sixth of the year. Coltyn Bates and Ian Mackey assisted. Winkler took their two goal lead into the first intermission while outshooting Swan Valley 16-6 in the first 20 minutes.
With an undefeated record when leading after one period, the Flyers went to work on increasing their lead in the second frame. Just past the midway point of the middle period, Scott Gall carried the puck across the goal mouth and flipped a back hander past the blocker of Slipp to increase Winkler’s lead to 3-0. Connor Hamonic and Nolan McGuire assisted on Gall’s league leading 15th goal of the season.
Before the end of the period, Winkler would extend their lead to 4-0 when Brett Opperman and Brody Moffatt assisted on Jacob Lacasse’s first ever MJHL goal and the Flyers took their commanding lead into the final period.
A four goal lead would be all the Flyers would need, thanks to the continued stellar play of goaltender Cole Weaver, who made 26 saves while earning his second MJHL shutout. The Flyers’ 18 year old goaltender now leads the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in goals against average (1.69) and save percentage (.938) and is second in the league with a 11-2-0 record.
The Flyers outshot Swan Valley overall 37-26. Both teams were 0-for-4 on the power-play.
The Flyers (17-7-0) will host the Virden Oil Capitals (13-6-5) on Sunday, November 20th in their next game. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm. The Flyers are 0-2 against the Oil Caps this season. Advance tickets are available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar.
Prior to Sunday’s game, the Flyers will pay tribute to their Billet Families and the Families of their players with a special pre-game ceremony.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F BRETT OPPERMAN (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – G COLE WEAVER (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F JACOB LACASSE (WINKLER)