Troy Martyniuk had a sensational game on Sunday night, as the Flyers ended their three game road trip with a 4-3 win in Neepawa. The Winkler goaltender only faced 23 shots in the game, but came up with some unbelievable game saving stops to allow his club to pick up a very important victory.
After falling 2-0 in OCN the night before, the Flyers went back to the place where their regular season began to take on a Neepawa club that was coming off a come from behind win over Selkirk on Saturday. Sunday’s game was the fifth of six meetings between the two clubs, and Winkler was looking for their fifth win.
Coming out of the gate a bit sluggish, the Flyers gave up the first goal of the game for the sixth time in nine outings when Brad Marshall beat Martyniuk over the shoulder just 3:48 into the game. The Flyers got that one back rather quickly thanks to Braden Billaney’s 14th goal of the year around a minute and a half later. Just over a minute after that, Billaney found Tyler Lindstrom in the high slot and he scored for the third time this season to put Winkler in front 2-1. With 1:18 to play before intermission, the Natives got behind the Flyers’ defense and tied the game 2-2.
In their previous 46 games, the Flyers had enjoyed a lot of success in the second period outscoring their opponents by a score of 63-37 in that period alone. The Flyers followed that theme again in Neepawa and opened up a 4-2 lead before the second intermission.
The first goal came 9:29 into the period when Coltyn Bates and Nolan McGuire assisted on Matt Christian’s 14th of the year. Just over six minutes later, Tanner Lewis cleaned up a loose puck in front of the goal to push Winkler ahead 4-2. Matt Christian and Gino Lucia assisted on Lewis’ 10th of the year.
With a 27-2-1 record when leading after 40 minutes, the Flyers were well on their way to securing the victory only to see the Natives cut their lead to 4-3 with a power-play goal with 5:16 left in regulation. The final minutes is where Martyniuk played his best as he robbed the Natives of the game tying goal on a number of occasions and the Flyers would come away with a very important two points.
Martyniuk made 20 saves, improving his record to 6-0 as a Flyer. The Flyers outshot Neepawa 32-23. The Flyers were 0-for-5 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill. The Flyers are now 5-0 against Neepawa.
The Flyers (33-12-2) will now prepare for a critical game against the Selkirk Steelers at home on Tuesday night. The second place Flyers lead the third place Steelers by three points with one game in hand. Puck drop at the Winkler Rec Complex is 7:30pm. That game is also Crocus Real Estate – 20th Anniversary Community Appreciation FREE ADMISSION night, together with MIG Insurance. All fans will get entry into the game free of charge and receive free coffee thanks to our friends at Crocus Real Estate.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F BRADEN BILLANEY (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – D TYLER LINDSTROM (WINKLER)