The Winkler Flyers moved back into second place in the MJHL standings with a hard fought 5-3 win over the visiting Winnipeg Blues on Sunday night. Bryce Enns scored two goals in the third period as the Orange and Black snapped their three game losing streak with their 20th win of the season.
Beginning a three game home stand against their rivals from Winnipeg, the Flyers were looking to get back into the win column after falling short in their last three outings. During that time, the Blues had taken a one point lead on the Flyers for second spot in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League standings.
The Flyers had a good first period and would outshoot the Blues 10-5 in the first 20 minutes. Winkler took a 1-0 lead when Patrice Wren (7) batted home a rebound with 4:07 to play in the first with Tristan Keck and Cam Whyte assisting. Winkler took their one goal lead into the second.
Winnipeg pushed back in the second, but it was the Flyers who scored the next goal. With Flyers’ forward Tanner Posch in the penalty box early in the frame, Lawson McDonald’s (7) slap shot beat Blues netminder Scott Parsons, giving Winkler a 2-0 lead. Tristan Keck and Jeff Michiels assisted on the short-handed goal, 2:45 into the period.
The Blues began to chip away at the Flyers lead near the midway point of the period. With 8:58 to play, Jake Stillwell scored Winnipeg’s first goal and just over four and a half minutes later, he tied the game. Winnipeg outshot Winkler 16-4 in the period and the two teams skated into the third in a 2-2 tie.
The game opened up in the third with the intensity at a high level. Just over nine minutes into the period, Bryce Enns carried the puck around the Blues net and picked the far corner, putting Winkler bank in front 3-2. Brett Klassen and Zak Hicks assisted.
With Winnipeg now looking for the equalizer, the Flyers picked up some much needed insurance with 5:07 to go in regulation. Taking the pass from Jeff Michiels in the neutral zone, Tanner Posch skate hard towards the goal and tucked in his third of the season restoring the Flyers two goal lead.
That goal proved to be a big one as Winnipeg would score a power-play goal with 1:43 to go, cutting Winkler’s lead to 4-3. With the Blues goaltender on the bench and the extra attacker on the ice, Dasan Sydora and the Flyers defense firm on at the end to preserve the victory. With 10 seconds left on the clock, Reid Burak kicked the puck out of the zone to Bryce Enns who scored his second of the game and seventh of the season into the empty net, giving the Flyers the 5-3 win.
Dasan Sydora was tremendous in goal for the Flyers making 38 saves while improving his record to (16-4-1). Winnipeg outshot the Flyers 41-27 overall, 36-17 in the final 40 minutes. Winkler was 0-for-4 on the power-play and 5-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
With the win, the Flyers (20-8-5) jump over the Winnipeg Blues (19-6-6) for second place in the MJHL standings. Winkler will continue their homestand, Tuesday, December 9th when they host the first place Portage Terriers (32-2-1). Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm. Winkler is (1-2-1) against the Terriers this season.
NOTE: Scott Gall, Evan Last and Nolan McGuire all missed Sunday’s game due to injury. Brandon Bartley (Central Plains Capitals) and Nicholas Labossiere (Winnipeg AAA Warriors) were “AP’s” on Sunday and performed exceptionally well.