Bryce Enns scored the game winner, 7:35 into overtime as the Winkler Flyers beat the Virden Oil Capitals 4-3 in Game Two of their MJHL Quarterfinal series. Despite letting a three goal lead slip away in the third period, the Flyers found a way to get the win which ties the best of seven series at a game a piece.
With the series shifting to Tundra Oil & Gas Place in Virden for Game Two, the Flyers needed a win to draw even with the Oil Capitals who won Game One, 3-2 in Winkler on Wednesday. Winkler’s plan was to come hard at the Oil Caps right out of the gate in the second game of the series and they did just that.
After pinning Virden in their own zone for the first number of minutes, Zak Hicks took a pass from Cam Whyte in the slot and fired the puck off the inside of the far post and in, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 6:28 into the game. Patrice Wren also assisted on Hicks’ second goal of the series.
Winkler doubled their lead not even three minutes later when Jagger Thomas followed up on a rebound in front of the net and hammered home his first of the playoffs giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Linemates Brett Klassen and Bryce Enns assisted.
The Flyers really opened things up with 4:57 left in the period when they increased their lead to 3-0. After taking the pass from Nathan Karlowsky in the neutral zone, Tristan Keck raced into the Oil Caps zone on a two-on-one. Keck then flipped a back handed pass to Kayden Jarvis who cut towards the middle before picking the top corner with the shot.
Virden got one back on the power-play late in the period but the Flyers took their two goal advantage into the second. No goals were scored in the second but the Flyers were able to maintain their lead thanks in large part to a number of great penalty kills.
Still ahead 3-1 through two periods, the Flyers looked to put the game to bed in the third. However, the Oil Caps slowly but surely got back into the game in the third period as they were trying to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Virden started to cut into Winkler’s lead just over six and a half minutes into the third when Oil Caps defenseman Taylor Fisher let a shot go from the point that ticked off the glove of Devon Fordyce and into the net. Fordyce, who was making his first start of the playoffs was having himself a tremendous game. Before tonight, the Flyers last road win came in Virden on February 15th when Fordyce made 44 saves earning his first win as a Flyer.
The Oil Caps managed to complete the comeback with 5:31 left in regulation thanks to Corey Haverstick’s second goal of the playoff which tied the game 3-3. With the game remaining tied after the end of regulation, the contest went to overtime and would either end with Virden taking a 2-0 series lead or would move into Game Three tied 1-1.
Both teams had their chances in overtime and 4:37 into the 10 minute extra period, Bryce Enns was sent off for roughing, giving Virden a chance to win it on the power-play. But just like they had done many times earlier in the game, the Flyers penalty killers were equal to the task. Not even a minute after killing off the penalty, Scott Gall circled the puck wide around the Virden net and tried to jam it in on the wrap around. After goaltender Sean Kuehn came across to kick the puck off the goal line, Bryce Enns raced in and buried the rebound, giving Winkler the 4-3, series tying win.
Devon Fordyce was strong in the game making 37 saves. The Oil Caps outshot the Flyers 40-27 overall. Winkler went 0-for-3 on the power-play and 6-for-7 on the penalty-kill.
With the series now tied 1-1, the Flyers will look to use their home ice advantage with a win in Game Three on Sunday, March 15th. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm. You can get your tickets in advance at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar.