The Steinbach Pistons wore down the short-handed Flyers on Friday night, earning a 7-3 win on home ice. Playing the game with five regulars out of the line up, the Flyers played well and had a gritty effort, losing in regulation for just the third time in their last 18 games.
Coming off a 4-1 win in Selkirk on Tuesday night to give themselves some breathing room in the standings, the Flyers travelled to Steinbach for the second time this season to face off against the first place Pistons. Entering play six points ahead of third place and six points behind first place, the second place Flyers were looking to creep closer to the MJHL’s top club.
Just before the half way point of a very even first period, Steinbach leading scorer Mackenzie Graham beat goaltender Cole Weaver to give the home side a 1-0 lead. It didn’t take long for Winkler to tie it up though as just over a minute later, Brayden Cullum tipped in Mitch Dyck’s point shot to make the score 1-1. Cullum snapped an 11 game pointless drought with his eighth of the year, and Dyck picked up his fifth point in his last five games.
The Pistons would regain the lead, 4:32 into the second period but the Flyers were quick to get that one back too. With 9:56 left in the middle period, Gino Lucia fired a shot on goal from the high slot that was nearly tipped in by Tanner Lewis in front. With the puck lying in the crease, Nolan McGuire skated in and scored his 17th of the year to tie the game 2-2.
However, Steinbach would get a late goal in the second period to take a 3-2 lead into the break. The game was tight until the beginning of the third when Steinbach opened things up with three goals in just over four minutes. Other than the small lapse in the third, the game was much closer than the score would indicate. Now trailing 6-2, the Flyers continued to play with a solid effort despite having the game seem a little out of reach.
Winkler would add one more when Nathan Peabody found Will Blake beside the goal, and his 10th of the year made the score 6-3. Steinbach added another one of their own not long after and would get the best of the Flyers with a 7-3 victory.
Cole Weaver made 30 saves in the loss as the Pistons outshot the Flyers 37-30. Winkler was 0-for-2 on the power-play and 1-for-1 on the penalty-kill. Winkler is now 1-3-1 in five games played against Steinbach.
Winkler (36-13-3) will host the Waywayseecappo Wolverines (11-34-4) on Saturday, February 11th in their next home game. Winkler is 4-0-1 in five games played against Wayway. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm with advance tickets available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar.
NOTE: Scott Gall, Jeff Michiels, Brody Moffatt, Braden Billaney and Tyler Lindstrom all missed the game due to injury. There is no exact time table yet for their return.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F BRADLEY SCHOONBAERT (STEINBACH)
2ND STAR – F MACKENZIE GRAHAM (STEINBACH)
3RD STAR – F BRAYDEN CULLUM (WINKLER)