Troy Martyniuk made 47 saves on 49 shots as the Winkler Flyers doubled the Steinbach Pistons 4-2 in their first home game since the Christmas break. The Flyers’ netminder was in top form on Tuesday night as the Orange and Black scored when they needed to and played well around their own net while earning their third win in three tries against the MJHL’s top club.
Returning home for the first time since the 16th of December, the Flyers were looking to rebound after suffering a disappointing loss in Waywayseecappo on Sunday. With a large crowd on hand, the Flyers got off to a great start.
Just 65 seconds into the game, Will Blake redirected a Garrett Kuklica point shot past Steinbach netminder Matthew Thiessen and the Flyers had scored first for the first time in five games. Coltyn Bates also assisted on Blake’s 11th of the year. Then with 8:56 left in the period Brett Opperman jumped on a loose puck and scored his eighth to double Winkler’s lead to 2-0.
The Flyers took their 2-0 lead into the intermission, thanks in large part to goaltender Troy Martyniuk who was sharp in the opening 20 minutes.
Early in the second period, the Flyers pulled in front 3-0. After Matt Christian drove the puck around the Pistons’ defense and sent a shot on goal, Will Blake was there to bang in the rebound, scoring his second of the game. Winkler found themselves in some penalty trouble in the minutes to follow and the Pistons, who had won 11 of their last 12 coming into the game, capitalized with a 5-on-3 power-play goal.
The score remained 3-1 for the home side after 40 minutes with the Pistons leading on the shot clock by a count of 26-13.
With a solid 40 minutes already in the books, Troy Martyniuk was almost unbeatable in the third and managed to stop all but one of the 23 shots he would face in the period. Steinbach cut Winkler’s lead to 3-2 with just over six minutes left in regulation after Martyniuk stopped Steinbach forward Daniel McKitrick on a breakaway and the hard charging crowd behind him accidently knocked the puck into the Winkler net.
It did not take the Flyers long to get that one back as exactly 60 seconds later, Matt Christian stole the puck at the Steinbach blue line and scored on the ensuing breakaway to restore Winkler’s two goal lead with his 18th goal of the season.
The game was fast paced, hard hitting and very entertaining. The Flyers offense struck when they needed to and the stingy penalty-kill kept the Pistons at bay. The real highlight was Troy Martyniuk who was sensational in the game, ending the night with 47 saves as the Pistons outshot the Flyers 49-15. The Flyers were 0-for-4 on the power-play and 7-for-8 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (25-14-0) have a quick turn-around as they will head to Winnipeg (16-16-5) on Wednesday night (Jan.10) for their fifth meeting of the year against the Blues. Winkler is 3-1 in their four previous games against Winnipeg. Puck drop at Bell/MTS Iceplex is 7pm with the pregame show live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com getting underway at 6:55pm. You can also watch the game live on Hockey TV.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F TYSON McCONNELL (STEINBACH)