Collin Caulfield scored the game winning goal with just 21 seconds left in overtime as the Winkler Flyers defeated the visiting OCN 6-5 on Friday night. It was a very entertaining back and forth game between two clubs looking to get back into the playoff picture in the MJHL standings.
Playing the first of two straight games against OCN to close out the unofficial first half of the regular season, the Flyers got the early jump on the Blizzard. Just 1:50 into the game, veteran forward Jesse Korytko got a hold of the puck in front of the OCN net and swung it around the goaltender to put the Flyers in front 1-0. Drake Burgin and Eric Fawkes assisted on Korytko’s ninth of the season.
The Flyers doubled their lead on the power-play later in the period when Eric Fawkes tipped in a Raihan Kheraj point shot to make the score 2-0 for the home side. Drake Burgin assisted on this goal as well. OCN managed to cut the Flyers’ lead to 2-1 before the break, but the Flyers carried the play for the most part in the opening period, outshooting the Blizzard 21-9.
Before the halfway point of the second, Fawkes would add his second of the game and fifth of the season to move the Flyers in front 3-1. However, before the end of the period the Blizzard would score twice, including once on the man-advantage and the game was all square at three through 40 minutes.
Winkler kept the pressure on in the third and regained their lead just over eight minutes into the period thanks to a perfectly placed wrist shot from Gino Lucia. Collin Caulfield and Brody Moffatt assisted on Lucia’s second goal in as many games. The Flyers scored again just 44 seconds later as Caydon Meyer crept in from the point and banged in a loose puck during a goal mouth scramble and the Flyers had a 5-3 lead with 11:08 left in regulation. Connor Beebe assisted on Meyer’s first goal as a Flyer.
The Blizzard would not go away easily though as they scored a pair of breakaway goals later in the period to send the game into overtime tied 5-5.
With the extra frame almost complete and a shoot-out looming, the Flyers would end it with just 21 seconds left on the clock. After holding the puck in his own zone waiting for his team to complete a line change, Gino Lucia slid a nice pass over the Collin Caulfield who charged down the ice, cut in front of the net and tucked in his first of the season past the right pad and goaltender Noah Giesbrecht to win the game for Winkler.
Riley Morgan picked up the win in goal for Winkler making 22 saves. The Flyers had a large advantage on the shot clock, outshooting the Blizzard 54-27 overall. Winkler went 1-for-7 on the power-play and 5-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers and Blizzard will meet again on Saturday night in their final game before the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Christmas Break. If the emotional and physical tone set on Friday night is any indication, Saturday’s game is sure to be a good one. Puck drop at the Winkler Rec Complex is 7:30pm and the game can also be streamed live on www.hockeytv.com. You can purchase tickets in advance at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or Petro-Canada Gas Bar in Winkler.
Winkler Meats Three Stars
1st Star – D Collin Caulfield (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Gino Lucia (Winkler)
3rd Star – G Noah Giesbrecht (OCN)