Troy Martyniuk stopped all 36 shots he faced as the Winkler Flyers blanked the visiting OCN Blizzard 3-0 Wednesday night in Game Four. It was complete team effort from start to finish as the Flyers pushed the Blizzard to the brink of elimination heading into Game Five, Friday night in OCN.
Heading into the game with a 2-1 lead in the best of seven opening round series after losing Game Three in double overtime on Tuesday, the Flyers picked a good time to have their best game of the playoffs so far. Just before the eight minute mark of the first period Coltyn Bates jumped on a loose puck beside the net and cashed in the first goal of the game. Matt Christian and Cole Kirkup assisted on Bates’ second goal in as many games.
The Blizzard outshot Winkler 14-10 through the first 20 minutes, and thanks to the solid play of goaltender Troy Martyniuk, the Flyers took their 1-0 lead into the second.
Winkler doubled their lead in the middle period when Matt Christian let a shot go from the left point on the power-play, beating OCN netminder Emilien Boily over the shoulder for his team leading third goal of the playoffs. Collin Caulfield and Mitch Dyck drew the assists. The helper increased Dyck’s point streak to a season high 10 games. It was the Flyers’ fifth power-play goal of the series and 12th in their last 10 games overall.
Wednesday’s game had a lot of flow and good energy to it and was a much more clean game than the previous three with only five penalties called in the entire game. With the score still 2-0 for Winkler moving into the third, the Flyers played a smart brand of hockey in the final period.
Then with just under five minutes left in regulation, the Flyers gave themselves some breathing room in highlight reel fashion. After taking the pass from defenseman Erik Dahl, Weiland Parrish chipped it up the left wing wall to a charging Will Blake. After cutting around the OCN defense at full speed, Blake faked the forehand shot and lifted a back hander just under the bar, scoring his second of the post-season and give Winkler a 3-0 lead.
Troy Martyniuk was perfect in goal, earning his fourth shutout of the season as the Blizzard outshot the Flyers 36-34. Winkler went 1-for-2 on the power-play and 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill. It was a great team effort by the Flyers with a number of players out of the line-up due to injury. Forwards Jayden McCarthy and Sven Schefer, who were called up from the Pembina Valley Hawks were very impressive in their Flyers’ debuts.
The series now shifts back to OCN for Game Five on Friday night with the Flyers holding a three games to one lead. You can catch the game live on Country 88.9FM and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show getting underway at 6:55pm. You can also watch it online with a subscription to www.hockeytv.com.
GREAT CANADIAN OIL CHANGE THREE STARS
1ST STAR – G TROY MARTYNIUK (WINKLER)
2ND STAR – F MATT CHRISTIAN (WINKLER)
3RD STAR – F WILL BLAKE (WINKLER)