The Winkler Flyers dropped a 3-2 decision to the Swan Valley Stampeders on Friday night in the first game of their three game weekend road trip. Daylin Smallchild scored the game winner with just one minute left in regulation as the Flyers started the month of February with a tough loss on the road.
Looking to put the breaks on a two game losing streak, the Orange and Black began an important weekend against a Swan Valley squad that they had not lost to yet this season. During a back and forth opening frame, the Stampeders opened the scoring on a goal by James Maxwell midway through the first period.
Winkler responded with two goals to start the second as Brett Opperman tied the game just over three minutes into the second and Matt Christian put Winkler in front 2-1 with his 24th of the year just a few minutes later and Winkler had their first lead of the game.
Late in the period, the Flyers went on the power-play but instead of building some momentum, they would give up a short-handed goal with under a minute to go in the period and the game was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes.
The third period was a very exciting 20 minutes of hockey with both teams in search of some important points in the standings. Entering play on Friday, Swan Valley was tied with Neepawa for the eighth and final playoff spot, while the Flyers were tied with OCN for fourth place. Before the third period began in Swan River, the Natives had already defeated the Blizzard in OCN which gave the Flyers a chance to move into sole possession of fourth place while pushing the Stampeders out of the playoff picture.
With both teams generating chances on goal, the game remained tied 2-2 late into regulation. But with exactly 60 seconds left to play in the third period, Swan Valley defenseman Daylin Smallchild sent a wrist shot past Winkler starter Aaron Brunn and the Stampeders moved in front 3-2. Despite a late game push by the Flyers, Winkler would be forced to settle for their third straight defeat.
Aaron Brunn took the loss, despite playing a solid hockey game as the Flyers were outshot 53-43. Winkler went 0-for-4 on the power-play and 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
On Saturday, the Flyers will travel north to OCN for their fourth meeting of the year against the Blizzard. The Flyers enter play in a tie for fourth place in the MJHL Standings with the Blizzard. Puck drop at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre is 7pm, with Matt Friesen’s pregame show on Country 88.9FM getting underway at 6:55pm.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – D DAYLIN SMALLCHILD (SWAN VALLEY)
2ND STAR – G AARON BRUNN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – G ETHAN PETERSON (SWAN VALLEY)