Despite a solid effort in Winnipeg on Wednesday night, the Winkler Flyers suffered a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Blues. Matt Christian and Griffin Leonard did the goal scoring for the Flyers, who played well enough to win but were forced to settle for their second loss of the season against Winnipeg.
Just a day after a hard fought 4-2 win over the first place Steinbach Pistons at home, the Flyers were back on the road where they had won seven of their last ten games. The Flyers and Blues had met four times already this season, with each game being a tight affair, decided by two goals or less.
After a scoreless first period, the Flyers pushed the pace in the second and outshot the Blues 12-3 in the frame. However, the lone goal of the period came from Winnipeg’s Levi Cudmore who was sent in alone and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Winkler starter Troy Martyniuk.
Winkler tied it just seconds into the third when Collin Caulfield assisted on Matt Christian’s breakaway goal and the game was all square at one goal each. It was Christian’s second goal in as many games and 19th of the season.
Winnipeg responded quickly as Joel MacGillivray put the Blues back in front before the period was two minutes old. The Flyers continued to generate chances in the third, but were unable to solve Winnipeg netminder Jeremy Link who made a number of big stops on some high quality Winkler chances.
The Blues opened it up later in the period as Dexter Kuczek and Levi Cudmore scored 90 seconds apart to make the score 4-1 Winnipeg with just over six minutes to play.
With Winkler on the power-play late in regulation, Griffin Leonard tipped in a Nolan McGuire point shot for his second of the season and Winkler had cut Winnipeg’s lead to 4-2. However, it was too little too late as the Blues would hold on to their two goal lead until the final buzzer.
Troy Martyniuk made 22 saves in the loss as the Flyers outshot Winnipeg 32-26 overall. Winkler went 1-for-4 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers’ (25-15-0) next game is Saturday night when the Dauphin Kings (10-29-2) come to town. It will be the sixth and final meeting of the season between the two clubs with Winkler winning four of the previous five. Puck drop on Saturday night is 7:30pm. It will also be the first of five Winkler Canvas 40th Anniversary game days. One lucky fan will have a chance to win $10,000 by signing up in the lobby for the Winkler Canvas 40th Anniversary $10,000 shoot to win. Advance tickets for Saturday’s game are available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar, Petro Canada Gas Bar or at the door prior to the game.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – F LEVI CUDMORE (WINNIPEG)
2ND STAR – F GRIFFIN LEONARD (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F DEXTER KUCZEK (WINNIPEG)