Jayden McCarthy scored his second goal of the game, 1:20 into overtime to help the Winkler Flyers get past the first place Swan Valley Stampeders 5-4 on Friday night. In one of their best games of the season, the Orange and Black went stride for stride with one of the best offenses in the MJHL and snapped their four game losing streak in the process.
After starting the regular season with back to back victories, the Winkler Flyers had come out on the wrong end in their last four outings. With the MJHL’s best offense through the first few weeks of the season, the Stampeders would prove to be a tough test as they entered play on Friday having scored twice as many goals than Winkler had through the first six games of the year.
From start to finish, Friday’s game was fast paced and entertaining and once again, despite playing well in the first period, the Flyers found themselves down 1-0 just before the halfway point of the opening frame. It did not take Winkler long to get that one back as rookie forward Jayden McCarthy, who had scored his first goal of the season Wednesday night in Portage, snapped home his second of the year just a minute and a half later to pull the Flyers even on the power-play.
Winkler began the second period on the penalty-kill but would take their first lead of the night thanks to Griffin Leonard’s first goal of the season. After knocking the puck out to the neutral zone, the second year Flyer raced down the ice on a short-handed break-away and fired a shot through the five-hole of goaltender Michael Davis to put Winkler up 2-1 just 2:16 into the period.
Swan Valley tied the game nearly six minutes later and the two teams skated into the second intermission tied 2-2.
The Flyers started a wild third period with another goal by Griffin Leonard, who carried the puck out of the corner and tucked his shot into the top corner restoring Winkler’s one goal lead before the period was two minutes old. Then with seven minutes left in regulation, Brody Moffatt stepped into a slap shot on the power-play and the Flyers lead had grown to two goals. Unfortunately for Winkler, the Stampeders’ offense would strike for two quick goals in the minutes to follow and the game was right back to being tied with six minutes left on the clock.
Still tied through 60 minutes of play, the Flyers were headed to overtime for the third time this season having earned at least a single point. The game would end, 1:20 into the extra frame when forward Jayden McCarthy picked up the puck behind his own net, raced down the right side of the ice and snapped home the game winner into the far side of the Swan Valley net giving the Flyers the 5-4 victory.
Aaron Brunn got the start in net for Winkler, but was forced to leave the game with an injury early in the second period. Both he and Riley Morgan played well in net making a combined 36 saves. The Stampeders outshot Winkler 39-33 overall. Winkler went 2-for-7 on the power-play and were a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The Flyers (3-3-1) will take on the Steinbach Pistons (2-3-0) in their next game, Sunday night at the TG Smith Centre in Steinbach. You can catch the pregame show live on Country 88 and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com with Matt Friesen’s pregame show at 6:55pm.