Lucas Barker scored his second goal of the game with 4:24 left in double overtime as the Winkler Flyers beat the OCN Blizzard 4-3 in Game One of their best of seven MJHL Quarterfinal series. Brett Opperman also scored twice for Winkler, including the game tying goal with 8:07 left in regulation to help the Orange and Black take a 1-0 lead in the series on the road.
Meeting each other for the third straight year in the MJHL Playoffs, the Flyers and Blizzard played a very entertaining, playoff style game in Game One. The Flyers had won just twice against OCN this season but did enter the playoffs having won three of their last four games to close out the regular season.
After surrendering the first goal of the game in all six meetings this season, the Flyers took a 1-0 just over four minutes into the game when Everett Bestland sent a pass to the front of the net and Lucas Barker knifed a shot over OCN netminder Emilien Boily for the game’s first goal.
With Winkler on their second power-play of the game later in the period, the Blizzard tied the game 1-1 thanks to a short-handed goal by Jesse Roach and the two teams skated into the first intermission knotted up at one.
The second period provided a fast paced brand of hockey and Winkler moved back in front on a goal by Brett Opperman with 3:26 left in the frame. Mitch Dyck and Collin Caulfield picked up the assists. Dyck increased his individual point streak to seven games with the helper. However, not even a minute later, OCN forward George King tucked the puck around Troy Martyniuk to once again tie the game.
The Blizzard took their first lead just 2:36 into the third period and for the first time in the game, the Flyers were playing from behind. Then with 8:07 left in regulation, Flyers assistant captain Brett Opperman capitalized on a Blizzard turnover and stepped into a shot that found the top corner of the OCN net, tying the game 3-3.
After the rest of regulation and the first overtime period solved nothing, the game moved into period five tied 3-3. Winkler carried the play in the fifth period and came within inches of winning the game on multiple occasions. Then with 4:24 to play in double overtime, Griffin Leonard slid the puck across the crease to Lucas Barker who managed to get it just across the line to win the game for Winkler, sending the Flyers pouring onto the ice in celebration of their Game One victory.
Both goaltenders were fantastic in the game as the Flyers outshot OCN 60-43 overall, 24-11 in the overtime periods alone. Winkler went 0-for-9 on the power-play and 7-for-7 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers, who now lead the series 1-0 will face off against the Blizzard in OCN for Game Two on Saturday night. Puck drop at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Center is 7:00pm with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 6:55pm. You can also watch the game live with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F LUCAS BARKER (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F BRETT OPPERMAN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – G EMILIEN BOILY (OCN)