A four goal third period helped the Flyers increase their winning streak to eight games, with a 6-3 win over the Neepawa Natives on Friday night. Trailing 3-2 through 40 minutes, the Orange and Black rattled off four goals on 22 shots in the third period to earn their 20th win of the season.
With six days off since beating the visiting Swan Valley Stampeders at home, the Flyers travelled to the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa for the first time this season. The Flyers and Natives had met three previous times this season with Winkler winning all three games by a combined score of 26-1. Winkler has been one of the hottest teams in the league the past month, with seven wins in their last seven games, and 11 wins in their last 12 outings.
The Flyers showed some rust in the first period, as Neepawa opened up a 2-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game. Winkler responded with 8:03 to play in the first when Braden Billaney scored his sixth, cutting Neepawa’s lead to 2-1. Jason Cohan, who was making his Flyers’ debut, and Coltyn Bates assisted on Billaney’s 11th point in his last 11 games.
Thirty nine seconds later, Thomas Mansbridge scored off a rebound from Jordan Wall’s point shot and the game was tied 2-2. It was Mansbridge’s seventh point in his last seven games.
The Natives would regain the lead before the end of the period when Austin Hingtgen beat Connor Slipp from the point and Neepawa was back in front 3-2.
Winkler started playing better in the second period, but continued to trail by a goal through 40 minutes. It was just the fourth time all season that Winkler headed into the third behind in the game
With Flyers’ defenseman Zak Hicks in the penalty box early in the third, Neepawa came close to increasing their lead to 4-2. However, with just seconds left in Hicks’ penalty, Kayden Jarvis stole the puck at his own blue line and hit Hicks with a pass as he stepped out of the box. The reigning MJHL Defenseman of the Month raced toward the Neepawa net and scored his eighth to pull Winkler even 3-3.
Just past the midway point of the third period, Kurt Sonne drove the puck down the right wing, lowered his shoulder and tucked in his second as a Flyer, giving Winkler a 4-3 lead. Tristan Keck increased his point streak to eight games with an assist on the goal. Keck then put Winkler in control when he scored the Flyers’ fifth goal on the power-play with 4:58 to play. Zak Hicks and Connor Hamonic assisted on Keck’s team leading 17th goal. Zak Hicks, who had already increased his point streak to seven games, assisted on Jordan Williamson’s power-play goal with 2:29 left on the clock and the Flyers lead was now 6-3. Kayden Jarvis, who was back on the ice for the first time in 15 games due to injury, drew his second assist of the game.
Connor Slipp increased his Flyers’ record to 10-0 between the pipes, making 34 saves on 37 shots. Winkler outshot Neepawa 47-37. The Flyers went 2-for-3 on the power-play and 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (20-4-1) will play their final game of November on Saturday, November 28th when they host the Waywayseecappo Wolverines, 7:30pm at the Winkler Recreation Complex. The Flyers, who have an 8-1-0 record in November, are 2-0 against the Wolverines this season.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – D Zak Hicks (Winkler)
2nd Star – F Tristan Keck (Winkler)
3rd Star – F Kayden Jarvis (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer
F Kurt Sonne