The Winkler Flyers scored five times in the second period in a 5-3 win over the Portage Terriers on Wednesday night in a battle of the top two clubs in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The win was the Flyers’ sixth in a row and moved the Orange and Black to within three points of the first place Terriers.
Playing the Terriers for the first time this season, the Flyers made their way to the PCU Centre in Portage coming off five straight wins, and victories in nine of their last 10 games. The first period was a tight checking brand of hockey, with neither team giving their opponent much to work with.
Portage opened the scoring with just 13 seconds remaining in the first when Adam Wowryk beat goaltender Clarke Flegel from the left slot. Being outshot 12-6 through 20 minutes, the Flyers trailed by one heading into the second.
The Terriers caught a lucky break early in the middle period and doubled their lead. On a broken play in front of the Flyers goal, Portage rookie Nick Henry tucked one past Flegel just 34 seconds into the period, giving the home side a 2-0 lead.
The Flyers got the spark they needed not even 30 seconds later when Cam Whyte tapped in his 15th between the legs of Nathan Park, cutting Portage’s lead to 2-1, 1:01 into the period. Winkler would tie the game just past the five minute mark thanks to Scott Gall’s 12th of the season. Cam Whyte and Kurt Sonne assisted.
With the Terriers on their heels, Winkler took the lead near the midway point of the second thanks to Tristan Keck’s seventh goal in his last six games. Just over two minutes after that, Keck redirected Mitch Dyck’s point shot over the shoulder of Park to extend Winkler’s lead to 4-2 with his second of the game and 15th of the year. The Flyers weren’t done there as the line of Nico Labossiere, Coltyn Bates and Braden Billaney would score Winkler’s fifth goal with 1:20 to go before the break. From behind the net, Bates made a nice play to get the puck to Labossiere on the door step, and the rookie forward netted his fourth, giving Winkler a three goal lead through 40 minutes of play.
The Flyers five goal outburst in the second period, gave Winkler all the momentum heading into the third. After scoring the Flyers first goal of the game, Cam Whyte also assisted on the next three goals and wracked up four points in a span of 12 minutes and 59 seconds.
Winkler buckled down in the third period and didn’t give Portage much to work with. Terriers Captain Brad Bowles managed to get a third one past Flegel with 1:07 to play, but the game was already Winkler’s to have.
Flegel played extremely well in his second straight start. He made 28 saves, increasing his individual record to 5-1. The Terriers outshot Winkler 31-26 overall. Winkler went 0-for-4 on the power-play and 1-for-1 on the penalty-kill. It was the first game all season that the Flyers won, despite not scoring a goal on the man-advantage.
The Flyers (18-4-1) will return home to face the Swan Valley Stampeders on Friday, November 20th in search of their seventh straight win. The Flyers edged the Stamps 3-2 in a shootout in their first meeting of the year up in Swan River on October 23rd. Puck drop at the Winkler Recreation Complex is 7:30pm. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Cam Whyte (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Tristan Keck (Winkler)
3rd Star – D Mitch Dyck (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer – G Clarke Flegel.